WTA Miami Open Betting Preview: Who To Back & Who To Avoid
- Belinda Bencic each-way outright – 28/1 with Coral
- Serena Williams each-way outright – 7/1 with William Hill
- Bencic to win third quarter – 5/1 with Paddy Power
- Petra Kvitova each-way outright – 14/1 with 888Sport
For what seems like an eternity, Serena Williams has made the market when it comes to women’s tennis betting.
Often a prohibitively short favourite, the 23-time Grand Slam winner has been one to avoid from a personal perspective.
Williams is the 10th seed at the Miami Open which has a new home this year. The tournament has left Crandon Park for the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
In fact, Williams broke the ground at the building site a year ago and has an interest in the new complex as the owner of a small stake in the Miami Dolphins.
So, in many ways, this is a home event for the 37-year-old superstar who is still without a title since taking time out to have a baby after her 2017 Australian Open triumph.
Illness forced her retirement against Garbine Muguruza at Indian Wells after she won a thrilling battle with old foe Victoria Azarenka.
But she will be desperate to become the first winner of the Miami Open in its new surroundings, and her price of 7/1 with the best tennis bookmakers is as big as she has been for some time.
Given that she has been beaten in two finals since returning from childbirth, an each-way bet looks the way to go and the price certainly allows for it.
She does not appear to have a hard path through to the latter rounds in the bottom quarter of the draw with Elina Svitolina and Simona Halep likely fourth round and quarter-final opponents.
Avoid Simona Halep
I am deserting Halep this week, mainly due to the manner of her defeat to Marketa Vondrousova at Indian Wells.
The world number two just did not have the power of stroke to beat the young Czech who scrambled superbly and was able to come up with winners as well.
While the venue may have changed, the surface has not with Laykold (now teal in colour instead of purple) marginally quicker than the Plexipave at Indian Wells (30.4 on the Court Pace index last year against 27.9).
That is just about in the 'medium' category although the humidity of this Florida location (as opposed to the desert in California) means they play pretty similarly.
This second leg of the 'Sunshine Double' starts immediately after the first, and the slowness of the courts combined with the jarring physical nature of both surfaces makes it perhaps prudent to look for players who may not have had extended runs in Indian Wells.
So we'll be giving the swerve to Bianca Andreescu who sprung a major shock to become the first wildcard to win at Indian Wells, and the youngest winner since Serena Williams in 1999.
The 18-year-old Canadian was out on her feet during the deciding set of the final against Angelique Kerber and it's hard to see her following up here.
Consider Backing Bencic
Belinda Bencic backed up her surprise win in Dubai with another fine showing in Indian Wells. She may have reached the semi-finals, but she won her first three matches comfortably – including dropping just four games to world number one Naomi Osaka – and should be reasonably fresh coming into this event.
With Karolina Pliskova, who she beat at Indian Wells, and defending champion Sloane Stephens the main dangers in her quarter, the Swiss can go deep again and 28/1 outright with Coral is more than fair.
In the top half of the draw, there are question marks over all the big names.
I thought about backing Kiki Bertens but I have a suspicion she might already have one eye on the clay-court season and defending her title at Charleston. Kerber returned to form with a vengeance at Indian Wells but she might pay for those exertions this week.
After throwing away a lead of a set and 3-0 against Venus Williams, Petra Kvitova probably went on a few blacklists as far as punting is concerned.
But I am prepared to write that off as a freak occurrence, and she has what looks like a couple of routine starters before a potential test against Azarenka in round four.
We also get a bigger price about her this week, so I can't let her go unbacked at 14/1 each-way with 888Sport.
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