ATP action takes a break this week with the Davis Cup first round starting on Friday but there are two low-level WTA events in Monterrey and Kuala Lumpur starting today, and these poor quality events often provide superb trading opportunities with low ranked players frequently performing inconsistently and having weak serves.
Week Nine Trading Overview (only matches where point by point data is available):-
The table above illustrates the percentage of situations that 'trained' in these events in 2014.
As I mentioned in the previous previews, I've had some questions about trains on Twitter so I'll clarify this a little better - a train would be a situation where there is no upward price swing from a given position. Therefore in these instances, a set one winner train in set two would indicate that they took a set and break lead in set two and retained this lead without being broken back. A non-train would include the player that lost the first set breaking first in set two, or recovering a set and break deficit, or even recovering one break when a set and double break down.
Likewise, a set three train in this instance would be a player that has broken first and retains this lead throughout the deciding set.
We can see that the set two percentages are quite low for the WTA matches and this may be as much to do with the weather as anything - particularly in Kuala Lumpur where temperatures are again expected to be in the 30s this week, and conditions will be rainy as well.
There was a slight issue getting point by point data in Monterrey but the matches also looked to have low train percentages, and of the 30 matches sampled, 15 in Kuala Lumpur went to three sets, so the both tournaments, but Kuala Lumpur in particular, should be swingy.
WTA International Kuala Lumpur:-
2014 service hold 66.1% (Hard Court mean 64.1%)
Conditions are likely to be slightly fast, but weather (heat) is likely to create swing trading opportunities...
This tournament is a very poor event with many no-marks participating. Caroline Wozniacki is the overwhelming favourite based on the hold/break percentages but she is 0-1 in the event after a shock 1.06 defeat to Qiang Wang in 2013. That day, Wozniacki complained of heat exhaustion and whilst she is clearly the best player in the field, may not find conditions to her liking.
Three other players with over 100% hold/break percentages are Julia Goerges, Sabine Lisicki and Casey Dellacqua. Goerges and the out of form Lisicki are in the same bottom quarter whilst Dellacqua has a nice-looking draw in the second quarter of the top half, with the likes of Su-Wei Hsieh and Bojana Jovanovski the likely barriers to a semi-final berth. I've seen worse trading opportunities than the current 17.00 about Dellacqua.
Jarmila Gajdosova has started 2015 in positive fashion and, with Kurumi Nara, look the better players in the third quarter of the draw. Nara has already made it into round two with an early defeat of Stefanie Voegele.
Klara Koukalova has endured a miserable last few months and would appear to be no threat to the title given the fact she's in the same quarter as Wozniacki. After a shocking 6-2 6-0 defeat to Hsieh in qualifiers last week, the Czech veteran's level of performance is certainly about as far from a given as it gets.
There are a lot of players with weak serves here (Hsieh is a notable other) and this will also contribute to further swings. There are also a number of younger prospects in the field and it will be interesting to see how the highly rated Elizaveta Kulichkova fares. Based on her qualifying stats her potential level should be very high. Carina Witthoeft, An-Sophie Mestach, Misa Eguchi and Qian Wang also interest in this respect.
WTA International Monterrey:-
2014 service hold 63.8% (Hard Court mean 64.1%)
Conditions are likely to be average, but slightly better trading opportunities than expectation...
Immediately apparent is that this is a higher quality event than Kuala Lumpur (it has double the prize money) and the level of contenders is generally higher.
Defending champion Ana Ivanovic is the favourite for the event but looks a little short at 2.75, whilst contenders Timea Bacsinszky and Caroline Garcia are likely to be fatigued after reaching the Acapulco final on Sunday. Monica Puig - who was shocked at a short price in-running in Acapulco - is likely to be a threat, as is the veteran Vera Zvonareva.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is unbeaten at this venue in 15 matches (won titles in 2010, 2011 and 2013) and despite mediocre hold/break stats has to be respected.
At the bottom of the draw, Lauren Davis and Sara Errani face off in the first round and as last week in Acapulco, Errani must be taken on, with very poor hard court hold/break percentages. Her 52.5% hold percentage is obviously woeful and she will start at around 1.50 against Davis, which looks short. I like opposing the Italian at low prices this week when leading in matches.
Jovana Jaksic was beaten finalist last year and along with Aleksandra Krunic and Tereza Smitkova provide interest for young prospects here. Timea Babos (still only 21) has an excellent 10-3 venue record and won the event in 2012, and she faces Kateryna Bondarenko in the final round of qualifiers today.
This should be a pretty open tournament and a number of players can consider themselves viable candidate to go deep here.
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