It was a big day of tennis on the women’s side on Wednesday as Iga Swiatek, who was the favorite to win the event, was upset by Maria Sakkari and what a performance it was from the Greek. She has always had a big game but her composure under pressure has come on in leaps and bounds, plus for the first time in her career she’s the favorite to win a grand slam. Will she get it done? I’m not sure. But either way I think the value lies elsewhere in the semi finals. Join me as I analyze day 12 in Paris and offer my best tennis betting picks and predictions!
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Tamara Zidansek
Thursday, June 10, 2021 – 09:00 AM EDT at Court Philippe Chatrier
What a week it has been for Tamara Zidansek. Before this tournament, she had never made it past the second round of a grand slam. Now she has made her first slam semi-final, and she’s done it in style.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, too, is into her first slam semi final at 29 years of age having lost her last 6 quarter finals. She must be delighted, not least because she tends to favor hard courts, and she’s shown tremendous heart when it counts in this event.
To my mind this is a very difficult match to call, and I would price it near even money. The market disagrees and has sided with Pavlyuchenkova so I’ll take a chance on Zidansek at +150 with BetOnline
The matchup is intriguing. Zidansek possesses a little more natural power off the forehand wing, but Pavlyuchenkova is the more solid all-around player. If Pavlyuchenkova is unable to keep the ball off Zidansek’s forehand, I imagine she will be punished. But if instead she plays a tactically shrewd game, it may be difficult for Zidansek to apply enough pressure.
Paula Badosa had the most luck when she was able to push Zidansek wide on the backhand wing where she is most vulnerable, and only really went to the forehand when there was enough space to keep Zidansek on the run. The issue she had was executing that strategy, especially given that Zidansek was serving very well overall.
That’s not to say that the match is already on Pavlyuchenkova’s racquet by any means – players with the natural power of Zidansek can be unplayable on the day – but my guess is that Pavlyuchenkova’s tactics will revolve around applying pressure to the backhand.
That hasn’t been an easy strategy to pull off against Zidansek this week, as the match Badosa showed, and the Slovenian is a much stronger clay-courter than Pavlyuchenkova. Zidansek has been asked all kinds of questions and she’s been able to answer every one of them. If she executes the way she did against Badosa it will be very hard for Pavlyuchenkova to defend against her.
It’s hard to say how relevant stats are in such a unique situation, but they point squarely in the direction of Zidansek having the sports betting value. Over the last 3 years Zidansek has a 42-19 record plus a 110.6 combined break/hold percentage, and she is 16-7 with a combined break/hold percentage of 113.4 over the last year.
Pavlyuchenkova has a 14-11 record and 103.1% combined break/hold over the last 3 years and a 12-6 record and 109.9% break/hold over the last year. All on clay at main level.
It’s fair to say that Zidansek has had easier opposition, but those numbers are still mightily impressive. Furthermore, she has been the far more profitable player. When her betting odds have been between +100 and +500 on clay, she has a ridiculously good record of 17-9 for a 76% ROI and she’s won 8 of her last 10. Against the top 50 in this price bracket she’s won 6 of 12 for a 59% ROI, so she certainly hasn’t struggled against the elite.
Pavlyuchenkova by contrast has been decidedly average, with a 32-18 record as the betting odds favorite on clay and posts a 0% ROI including victories in just 5 of her last 10 for a -33% ROI. She is -167 for this match and when priced up between -200 and -101 she has a 22-17 record and -3.4% ROI.
However, as mentioned I’m not sure those stats are worth much. This match will likely come down to who can hold their nerve under pressure. Experience may shine through, with Pavlyuchenkova determined to make the most of this opportunity late in her career. But then again, the benefit of youth may be a fearlessness under pressure - a commitment to keep playing the same bold, aggressive tennis that has got Zidansek so far already.
Either way, with many factors pointing towards the underdog being value, I can’t ignore the price on offer. I’m expecting a high quality match and hopefully Zidansek can get over the line.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.