Ostrava open returned to the WTA tour last year to make up for all the cancelled tournaments in China. The Premier event was played in October in 2020 but now is pushed a month before, but still has stellar lineup.
Last year Sabalenka defeated Azarenka in straight sets to claim the singles title and with Elise Mertens claimed the doubles one as well.
Both players aren’t here to defend any points from that accomplishment.
Favourites/Top Seeds/Dark Horses
2 top 10 players, all 8 seeds within top 22 of the ranks and a last direct acceptance being Zhang as No.49 speaks volumes to the competition this wta 500 tournament has.
Iga Swiatek is the top seed, and this will be the Polish first match since losing to Bencic in Us Open 4th round. Despite her top 10 rank and status today she is still unproven Indoors while playing only 11 matches winning 8 of them mainly on the Billy Jean King Cup tournament representing her country in Group 1 Europe/Africa zone against lower ranked players. Her only Indoors appearance on the WTA tour came 2 years ago in Budapest where she was beaten in R2 by top seed then Uytvanck. Clay remains her best surface so I would personally see a way to go against her in early stages in such tournaments.
Fresh off her 2nd SF Grand Slam appearance this year, Maria Sakkari is knocking on the top 10 door while having her best season to date. She could be opposed against Ostapenko in R2 though as despite her great success in 2021 the Greek still has lot to show Indoors with 11-13 all-time record. However, she managed to beat top seed Elina Svitolina last year in Ostrava, but felt to Azarenka in the SF.
The winner of the high caliber R1 matchup between Kudermetova and Rybakina could have a serious impact on the top half in my opinion. Both with good service and hitting hard could offer good value against Swiatek and whoever comes from the Sakkari/Pavlyuchenkova QF battle.
Speaking of Pavlyuchenkova, she has the most winning % on Indoor hard comparing to the other surfaces and is often a threat to the field so keep a close eye on her and especially bet her if she is an underdog in a matchup this week.
Petra Kvitova is having and up and down season by her hefty standards and not quite sure where she is mentally right now. She has the game the left wide serve to basically blow the field off the water, but she has been inconsistent all year with losing lot of matches as a big favorite while not being able to surprise anyone especially bookies when she was priced as underdog. She is 26-16 on the year but still with -4.3% ROI. She could be easily bet against in R2 from the winner of Garcia and Badosa while looking how she plays up close
Kerber is the one I am looking to get away not scattered from the bottom part of the draw. The German is still in hunt for the 8th spot in the rankings that will give her the chance to travel and play in Guadalajara where the season ending wta championship will take place.
Belinda Bencic who is the 3rd seed and projected Kvitova opponent in the Semis may have started to get tired after recent months of great results, deep tournament runs and last but not least travel. After Olympic title in Tokyo, QF in Cincinnati and US Open she was beaten in the QF by Ludmilla Samsonva in Luxembourg as a -300 favorite. I wonder how she fares this week around, but make sure to oppose her as I don’t think she could be back up and running after such successful stretch in her career.
After series of subpar results, I think Pavlyuchenkova is a good bet to come from the top part of the draw with Rybakina maybe close 2nd, but have to see how she looks against Kudermetova and Veronika is tricky enough to cause trouble and see her as a top threat early on to her.
Kerber should be able to make it at least to the final given the competition around her
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