The race for the WTA Finals title gets under way on October 22, but even before the action begins there’s been something of an upset. Despite holding on to a qualification place earlier in the season, Britain’s Johanna Konta will miss out on the season finale in Singapore due to a foot injury.
With the Kremlin Cup offering her first chance to secure a place in the championship tournament, it was going to be all or nothing. She needed to at least make the final if she was going to secure one of the remaining WTA Finals spots. Unfortunately, just as it did before the WTA event in Hong Kong at the start of October, injury struck!
With Konta unable to compete, she now has to watch from the sidelines as first alternate while eight of the top women tennis pros compete for $7 million in prize money. Currently leading the way in the betting is Garbiñe Muguruza. Ranked number #2 in the world, she would typically be many people’s favourite for victory.
With two titles this year, including wins over Venus Williams in the Wimbledon final and Simona Halep in the WTA Western & Southern Open, the 24-year-old is certainly on form. With a wave of momentum clearly on her side, the odds makers over at Paddy Power and Betfair have given her the betting lead at 7/2.
However, with Romania’s Halep recently snatching the number #1 world ranking from Muguruza following her performance at the China Open, it could be a tough fight for Muguruza. While injury has certainly hampered Halep throughout the season, it seems as though she’s now finding her strength at the right time.
The successful defence of her WTA Mutua Madrid title in May showed that earlier setbacks hadn’t completely broken her spirit. Although a shock exit to Konta at Wimbledon preceded the defeat to Muguruza in Cincinnati and, most recently to Garcia, there’s something about Halep’s spirit that could shine through.
Having had a tough season, being the number #1 ranked player will certainly give Halep some confidence. On top of proving she’s got the mettle to pull through, she will be taking part in the WTA Finals for the 4th consecutive year. This experience, combined with her newfound strength, makes her a tasty bet at 4/1 with Paddy Power.
Of course, whenever you’ve got Venus Williams (7/1 at Paddy Power) in the mix, anything can happen and there’s certainly some value in the American at those odds. However, if you’re looking for a player with the most recent momentum on her side, then Garcia could be the surprise package this year.
Coming off her win in the Wuhan Open, 23-year-old Garcia secured her place in the WTA Finals by beating Halep in the China Open. The hard-fought contest not only showed Garcia is starting to find her form at the elite level, but that she’s now able to capitalise on her opponent’s mistakes.
At the close of the match, both players had won 76 points. However, it was the first set (more on set betting) that saw Garcia assert her dominance. With Halep making mistakes at crucial times, the young French pro seized her opportunities. Naturally, a single win over the world number #1 doesn’t mean Garcia is an unbeatable prospect.
But with a new placing in the world top ten and the undeniable confidence boost that comes from beating the best in the game, she’s likely to put in one of her strongest performances of the season when the finals get under way. If that proves to be the case, 6/1 is a solid price over at Betfair.
Naturally, when you pit eight of the top female players in the world against each other, anything can happen, which is why the remaining pros all have a chance of taking the trophy:
For many, the tournament is Muguruza’s to lose. Although she’s lost her place at the top of the WTA rankings to Halep, Halep has shown weaknesses this season. Yes, she’s managed to overcome them and impress, but the frailties are still there, as we saw in the China Open.
Unless she can plug the leaks and find a way to put in one of her best performances of 2017, the Romanian could be punished. Muguruza has shown she’s a strong competitor and with no signs of injury or doubt creeping in, it will be tough for the top women in the world to stop her if she comes out fighting at the WTA Finals.
For live match odds as the event gets under way, make sure you check out Paddy Power and/or the rest of our recommended online sports betting sites. After a maiden look at the track in 2015, Ricciardo returned last year and handled the Texan curves superbly, finishing third and with plenty of ground to spare on Vettel.
The Aussie has routinely outperformed his stablemate Verstappen this season and we expect him to secure a place on the podium on Sunday next to Hamilton and Bottas. He can be backed at an appealing 6/4 to do exactly that with Betway!