Houston and Charleston tennis previews, predictions, and best bets: Stephens, Keys seek more success
The hard-court swing in the United States has come to an end, and now professional tennis players are taking their talents to clay. In the leadup to the French Open over the next six weeks, all of the main tournaments will be played on the slow stuff. The clay-court grind begins on Monday in Houston, Marrakech, Charleston, and Bogota.
Let’s take look at the odds and best bets to be made at two of this week’s tournaments: Houston on the ATP Tour and Charleston on the WTA Tour.
U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship singles odds
Here are the odds for the Houston men’s singles tournament, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Houston 3-star value play: Tommy Paul (+1000)
Americans are not especially adept on clay, but Paul is one of the better ones in the contingent on this surface. Sure he prefers hard, but he is more than capable on the red stuff. Among his recent French Open results are an extremely competitive four-set loss to Dominic Thiem (Thiem went on to reach the final that year) and a five-set loss to Casper Ruud. Those are two of the best clay-court players in the world. In a Houston field without any top clay-courters, Paul could – and arguably even should – prevail.
Miami Open 2-star value play: Taylor Fritz (+500)
Based on current form, Fritz is the best player in the Houston draw. He doesn’t love clay, but he is hitting the ball so well right now (Indian Wells champion, fourth round in Miami) that it shouldn’t matter. Plus he loves playing at home in the United States, regardless of surface. On the other half of the bracket from Paul, I think this is shaping up to be an all-American final.
Miami Open 1-star value play: Frances Tiafoe (+1800)
Considering this tournament is on clay, Tiafoe has a better chance to win the title than Nick Kyrgios—and Tiafoe is +1800, while Kyrgios is a +350 favorite! So, yeah, it’s safe to say that Tiafoe has great value as a longshot. The American is coming off a fourth-round performance in Miami and he has a favorable draw in Houston, so this sets up well for him.
Credit One Charleston Open women’s singles odds
Here are the odds for the Charleston women’s singles tournament, courtesy of bet365 Sportsbook.
Paula Badosa +500
Aryna Sabalenka +700
Ons Jabeur +900
Elena Rybakina +1000
Belinda Bencic +1100
Jessica Pegula +1200
Veronika Kudermetova +1400
Leylah Fernandez +1600
Amanda Anisimova +1600
Madison Keys +2000
Sloane Stephens +2200
Karolina Pliskova +2200
Petra Kvitova +2200
Charleston 3-star value play: Sloane Stephens (+2200)
Stephens is pretty much always a good all-or-nothing net. The American can flame out in the first round of any event, but her talent is such that it is never a surprise to see her go all the way. Stephens is a Grand Slam champion (2017 U.S. Open) and she displayed her clay-court prowess by finishing runner-up at the 2018 French Open. In fact, the 29-year-old has a better winning percentage on clay throughout her career than on any other surface. Stephens won this Charleston tournament in 2016, which is all the more reason to back her this week.
Miami 2-star value play: Madison Keys (+2000)
Keys, who finished runner-up to Stephens five years ago in New York, is also a former champion Charleston. In fact, she has been to the final twice – finalist in 2015 and winner in 2019 (defeated Caroline Wozniacki in the title match). Keys is sporting a 14-6 record this season, which includes a semifinal run at the Australian Open and a quarterfinal performance in Indian Wells. The 27-year-old is in favorable section of the Charleston draw near players who are not particularly comfortable on clay, and she should be able to take advantage.
Miami 1-star value play: Veronika Kudermetova (+1400)
When you can get the defending champion at +1400, it’s a bet you probably want to make. And Kudermetova’s success in Charleston last spring is not the only reason why you should like her chances this time around. The 24-year-old is up to No. 22 in the rankings and she is seeded eighth this week, which gives her a bye straight through to the second round. In the last two months Kudermetova has reached the title match in Dubai and the quarterfinals in Indian Wells, were she upset Naomi Osaka.
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