WTA Prague & WTA Lexington Day 3 Tips: Bogdan a false underdog for Tsurenko clash

This week's WTA Tour events move into the second round stage in Prague and Lexington today, and our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns to preview the action...

Serena battles back to make round two

There was a superb day's play in the two WTA tournaments on Tuesday with there almost being a huge shock in Lexington when Serena Williams came close to elimination in the second set of her clash with Bernarda Pera. The top seed was a set and 0-40 down serving at 4-4 in set two, but recovered to take the final set. Facing 13 break points is a huge negative for the tournament favourite - given her usually stellar serve - and she now faces sister Venus tomorrow, with the older Williams sister having brushed aside Victoria Azarenka in straight sets.

We also picked up a winner without too much drama as Leylah Fernandez got the better of Sloane Stephens for the loss of just six games in the match, and we also had a nice victory over the market in that clash as well, with Fernandez's price dropping around 20 ticks from the lines we discussed in yesterday's preview. Will the market keep overvaluing Stephens on reputation and longer-term successes despite numerous defeats?

Bogdan strong value in Prague

Over in Prague, action gets underway at 10:00 UK time, and the first match on the schedule between Kristyna Pliskova and Petra Martic looking particularly serve-orientated. Martic is the 1.53 favourite to make the quarter-finals, and I think that's about right.

It's the second match over in the Czech Republic where I think the market has got things wrong, with Lesia Tsurenko 1.83 favourite over Ana Bogdan, but my model suggested that the prices should be virtually reversed.

Tsurenko has qualified to be here but didn't have an abundantly high-quality line-up to beat in qualies, plus a first-round win over Ekaterina Alexandrova on clay isn't something which should yield too much weight in a thought process either. On clay in her career, Tsurenko has a poor record and, in addition, has very mediocre service numbers indeed.

On a likely fast court in Prague, this should be a bit of an issue. Opponent Bogdan is much more comfortable on clay as a general rule, and furthermore, has far better service numbers on the surface. The 2.16 about the Romanian is today's recommendation.

Romanian Tennis Player Ana Bogdan

Sabalenka a solid favourite over Gauff

Moving on to the hard courts of Lexington, there are some interesting match-ups although with the exception of one match, not much value. One match which a lot of neutrals will probably be very keen on watching is the meeting between Cori Gauff and the second seed, Aryna Sabalenka. Gauff has very high potential, but on a general basis, I think the market is anticipating too much from her at this stage of her career. She may well get there, but my view is that generally, she's more often over-rated than under-rated by the market.

However, for today's match, Sabalenka looks only a few ticks big as 1.58 favourite. The Belarussian has shown a very high level on hard courts and also could have some nice future improvement capability as well - she turned 22 during the pause in the Tennis tour.

Linette capable of defeating Brady

It's the final match on the card in Lexington where I think there is some scope for value in that event, with Magda Linette looking a little big at 2.72 for her match with Jennifer Brady.

I'm surprised to see Brady as a strong favourite here - she is 1.56 for the win - even though she thrashed Heather Watson in her opener. On year-long hard court data, Linette can compete and she also had an impressive win in her first match, defeating Lauren Davis for the loss of just five games. I think this should be a pretty competitive clash.

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