It’s been an incredible first few days of action in Madrid and the fun continues on Monday.
Two of the matches, including one featuring Victoria Azarenka, have presented us with value.
Read on for two plays to think about from Monday’s WTA tennis in Madrid.
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Ekaterina Alexandrova (-189) Marie Bouzkova (+152)
12:05 pm ET
Ekaterina Alexandrova has continued her good form since qualifying in the main draw of Madrid. In her latest victory, Alexandrova took down Nuria Parrizas-Diaz in straight sets.
Alexandrova won 85% of her first serve against Parrizas-Diaz and was only broken twice in the match. Alexandrova also won 46% of the points on Parrizas-Diaz’s first serve. Alexandrova is pummeling the ball this week in Madrid.
Alexandrova’s been playing with a high level of controlled aggression ever since Miami, when she seemed to find the range on her groundstrokes. The Russian does a great job of controlling the baseline and imposing her will on her opponents in recent matches.
Marie Bouzkova also came through qualifying and is still kicking in the Madrid draw. In her most recent match, Bouzkova survived a match point and defeated Dayana Yastremska 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1.
Bouzkova held the typically strong-serving Yastremska to just 54% of her service points won and broke the Ukrainian’s serve five times. In the third set, Bouzkova won 86% of her service points and didn’t face a break point, while breaking Yastremska’s serve three times in that set alone.
Bouzkova is very solid from the baseline and plays with consistent depth on her groundstrokes. All it took was a small dip in Yastremska’s level in the second set, and Bouzkova was able to take advantage. In addition, Bouzkova can ramp up the pace and be aggressive when she needs to.
While the Czech will force Alexandrova to hit through her and won’t gift her the match, Alexandrova is playing terrific power tennis at the moment and has the tools to hit through Bouzkova.
Alexandrova is not just bashing balls around the court, she constructs points at a very high level and waits for her chance to blast a winner into the open court. She’s not going to be quite as erratic as Yastremska or Karolina Pliskova (in Bouzkova’s first round match).
The altitude also helps give Alexandrova some more firepower on her groundstrokes and will help her overpower Bouzkova both on her first serve and from the baseline.
Pick: Alexandrova -3.5 games (-105 via PointsBet)
Amanda Anisimova (-176) vs. Victoria Azarenka (+142)
3:45 pm ET
Amanda Anisimova has continued her winning ways in Madrid. Anisimova beat Petra Martic 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to set up this matchup with Azarenka.
Against Martic, Anisimova won 72% of her first serve and was only broken once all match, saving five of six break points. She did a great job of attacking Martic’s second serve, winning 61% of the points on Martic’s second delivery. Anisimova controlled the baseline well and stayed mentally strong after going down a set.
Anisimova seems to be making a concerted effort to be aggressive this week when she has an opening. She’s been solid on both wings and playing with a high level of controlled aggression. The American’s movement has also been strong, as she’s able to cover the court very effectively.
Victoria Azarenka also recovered from a set deficit in the previous round. Azarenka defeated Tamara Zidansek 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 to advance to the round of 16 in Madrid.
Azarenka held Zidansek to just 52% of her service points won, including winning 59% of the points on Zidansek’s second serve. It’s no surprise then that Azarenka generated 18 break points, breaking six times. On her own serve, Azarenka won 71% of her first serve points and was broken just once after the first set.
Azarenka has really tried to take the initiative in rallies and dictate play from the baseline. She’s been a bit patchy in her play, but has overwhelmed both Zidansek and her first-round opponent, Viktorija Golubic, with pace. The altitude in Madrid has given Azarenka’s already-powerful groundstrokes even more pop.
While both players have the ability to step up in the court and be aggressive, at this stage in their careers, Anisimova has the more complete game, as she’s better able to defend and does a great job of absorbing power.
This ability to absorb the pace on an opponents’ aggressive groundstrokes and not lose control of the baseline helped her lot in the first round against Aryna Sabalenka and will also be crucial in this match.
I think this matchup plays into Anisimova’s wheelhouse and she should find success against Azarenka in this one.
Pick: Anisimova -2.5 games (-125 via PointsBet)
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