WTA Prague & WTA Lexington Day 6 Tips: Rogers has to end Teichmann run

We have WTA semi-final action in both Prague and Lexington today, and returning to discuss who is likely to make it to tomorrow's final is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...

Several shock results in Lexington

There were all manner of strange results yesterday in Lexington with our pick, Cici Bellis, succumbing in straight sets to Jill Teichmann, who had a terrible hard court record prior to this week, while Shelby Rogers shocked Serena Williams with a stunning final set tiebreak victory after losing the opening set 6-1 to the top seed.

Whether a lot of strange results are the effects of not playing for five months is up for debate - could it be a short-term leveller - but it will be interesting to see if this continues as the tour starts moving into higher profile tournaments with greater financial and ranking points rewards. There's an ATP Masters/WTA Premier next week, followed by two Grand Slams in quick succession.

Mertens a strong market favourite to beat fortunate Pliskova

Action in Prague starts in around 1.5 hours time with just one known semi-final so far on the card. The match between Irina Begu and Sara Sorribes Tormo was suspended overnight with the Romanian, Begu, a set to the good but a break down early in the second set. Given this, I'll have a quick look at the other semi-final - Elise Mertens versus Krystina Pliskova - before moving on to the two in Lexington.

Mertens underwhelmed in slow conditions last week in Palermo but has impressed more in these quicker conditions in Prague, and the third seed now takes on the big-serving home player Pliskova. Mertens is a 1.44 favourite over the lower-profile Pliskova sister, and I think that's a little short based on medium-term data in these quicker conditions, even though Pliskova got through yesterday via a fortunate retirement win against Ana Bogdan. Bogdan was 5-2 up in the first set before picking up a leg injury, and I think Pliskova's struggles in that first set is probably influencing the market to a large extent for this match.

Rogers value to end Teichmann's run

Over in Lexington, we have a semi-final that we didn't expect - Serena Williams versus Cici Bellis was the heavy favourite from the top half of the draw before the quarter-finals - but instead we have Shelby Rogers against Jill Teichmann.

Statistically, we have little choice but to oppose Teichmann again here. Prior to this week, Teichmann was 7-15 on hard court from the start of 2019 with a number of those matches in WTA qualifiers - not even in the main draw of a main tour event.

On the other hand, Rogers has solid hard court numbers and has bounced back well after a year-long injury caused her ranking to plummet from around 50 to being unranked by April last year. She's on the cusp of the top 100 but her numbers (around 101% combined service/return points won in hard court main tour events in the last year) suggest she's much better than her ranking, and she's playing at around the level of her previous ranking before injury.

I'm extremely surprised that Rogers is 1.79 to make the final. Yes, the win over Serena could have an effect, but unless Teichmann has suddenly worked out how to win matches on hard court this week despite previous evidence suggesting she has found it extremely difficult to do so, there's a decent chance that her run to the semi-finals flatters her, and while her data from this week is strong, it's also worth noting absurdly high break point overperformance this week, particularly on return.

American Tennis Player Shelby Rogers

Brady slight favourite over Gauff

The market also expects the second semi-final to be quite competitive, with Jennifer Brady a similarly priced 1.75 favourite over Cori Gauff. Both players have the tendency to be a little over-rated by the market but it looks like this has cancelled itself out today, with my model broadly agreeing with the market line. I also make Brady quite a marginal favourite here.

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