WTA Madrid Open Tennis Betting: Back Kiki Bertens Each Way
- Kiki Bertens each-way outright - 8/1 with Ladbrokes
- Ashleigh Barty each-way outright - 10/1 with William Hill
With the French Open just weeks away, the Madrid Open is one of the last chances for players to find form on clay ahead of the second Grand Slam of the year.
Petra Kvitova defends her title in the Spanish capital with the Czech seeking to become the first four-time winner of a WTA Premier Mandatory event. She is also the only multiple winner on tour this season, making her a favourite among tennis betting fans.
World number one Naomi Osaka pulled out ahead of her Stuttgart semi-final with an abdominal strain but came through her first-round match here against Dominika Cibulkova. The Japanese is yet to make the final of a clay tournament, and it’s hard to see her starting now.
Halep's Bidding for Madrid Hat-Trick
Simona Halep failed in her bid for a hat-trick of Madrid titles last year. As arguably the best clay-courter on the circuit, she warrants huge respect and is a 5/1 favourite with the best tennis betting sites to regain her crown.
That said, she looked below her best at Indian Wells and Miami and I wasn’t particularly taken with her first-round win over Margarita Gasparyan. She took the first set 6-0 with the Russian barely at the races, but Halep found life far tougher in the second. Gasparyan broke serve to save the match at 4-5 before the Romanian completed victory. And I can’t help feeling that Halep might struggle against better players on clay courts.
Kvitova took the number two ranking from Halep with her victory in Stuttgart, leaving me cursing my luck for deserting her having backed her at Indian Wells and Miami. The Czech is the form player on the circuit and has to be high on anyone’s shortlist for Madrid. She cruised through her opener against Sofia Kenin and play some fine clutch points to beat Kristina Mladenovic in round two.
But I’m not backing the left-hander this week (Kvitova fans breathe a sigh of relief) with Kiki Bertens her most likely quarter-final opponent. The pair met in last year’s final which Kvitova won in three sets, but the Dutchwoman really stepped up in the second half of last year on hardcourts, something to keep in mind when considering your tennis betting strategy.
Bertens' Time to Shine
Bertens won in St Petersburg in February and hasn’t quite found her stride on clay, her best surface, yet. After an early exit at the hands of Maria Sakkari in defence of her Charleston title, a result which doesn’t look nearly so bad given the Greek’s Rabat triumph last weekend, she went out in the semis in Stuttgart to Kvitova in three sets.
Stuttgart plays a bit quicker than Madrid but there is little to choose between the two venues. As a past visitor to La Caja Magica, I can tell you that the three main courts - especially Estadio 2 and Estadio 3 - feel very much like being indoors. They are far from traditional open-air venues as you can see from the aerial image on the tournament website.
As a result, there is very little wind which allows attacking players to go for their shots. It probably helps explain why Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion whose best results have come on quicker surfaces, has done so well here.
Anyway, I feel it is only a matter of time before Bertens wins a title on clay and this could be it. I believe she is a better player than last year - Kvitova may well be too, in fairness - and this is her surface. She was 12/1 in places at the start of the week and 8/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral Sports, still a fair price despite it being the tougher half of the draw with the likes of Sloane Stephens and Angelique Kerber in there.
Suffice to say, the top half is less competitive. Halep is the big name with the relative lack of opposition possibly behind her short price. But I think she faces a serious potential quarter-final test in the form of Ashleigh Barty.
The Australian made a huge breakthrough at Miami, claiming her first Premier title (and a Mandatory to boot) after four previous final defeats. It was no easy run in Florida, beating Bertens and Kvitova before accounting for Karolina Pliskova in the final.
Clay may not be her surface but Madrid’s nature may help her all-round game and she marmalised compatriot Daria Gavrilova in round one before overcoming a flat spot to beat Danielle Rose Collins in three. She defeated Halep in Sydney at the start of the year and, with the Romanian still looking shy of her best, I think she can beat her again. An each-way bet at 10/1 with Betway looks the way to go.
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