Mertens will struggle with Linette (July 25)

The WTA Tour is back on the hard courts as preparations for the US Open begin in Prague,

I’ve found betting value for two of Monday’s games, and I’ll share my best bets and previews below.

Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.

Elise Mertens (-245) against Magda Linette (+194)

6:30 a.m. ET

Elise Mertens has not played since falling to Ons Jabeur in the round of 16 at Wimbledon. Mertens had struggled on her comeback since suffering an injury in Istanbul, going just 6-5 entering Wimbledon, and it was the first time since then that she had put up decent form .

Mertens will be happy to return to the hard courts, where she is 252-125 in her career, despite being just 10-7 this season. Mertens showed incredible foot speed, anticipation and a fighting spirit at Wimbledon but has struggled since returning from injury, particularly when trying to generate power. Mertens is content to hit soft groundstrokes to the center and defend.

Magda Linette has also not played since Wimbledon when she lost her second round match to Angelique Kerber. While Linette has a higher winning percentage on clay (60%) than on hard courts (58%), it’s clear that the Pole is comfortable playing on hard courts. All of Linette’s biggest professional titles, the $125,000 in Ningbo as well as the WTA titles in the Bronx and Hua Hin, have been on hard courts.

Linette is a good ball hitter and a solid all-around player. She has good movement on the court and plays effectively with controlled aggression when she gets the chance, especially from the wing of the forehand. Linette hits her points with her serve and understands how to build points on hard court. However, sometimes the Pole’s backhand can become erratic.

Mertens has had a few wins in London but the defensive nature of his style of play hasn’t changed which will lead to problems. Linette has rally tolerance to hook up with Mertens from the baseline, and she can also end rallies if Mertens misses one of his shots.

Linette is a competent hard-court player with a high tennis IQ and good controlled aggression. I expect her to dictate from the baseline against an overly passive Mertens. The Belgian won’t be able to pin Linette in her backhand corner, and Linette should keep this game close.

Take: Linette +3.5 Games (-104 via FanDuel)

Tereza Martincova (-440) against Chloe Paquet (+320)

9:30 a.m. ET

Tereza Martincová hasn’t played since a first-round exit at Wimbledon, but she’ll surely be thrilled to take part in her home country’s event. Martincová is 199-141 on hard courts as a professional, despite being just 6-7 on the surface this season. His winning percentage of 59% on hard courts is higher than his winning percentage on clay (55%) and grass (50%).

Martincová has a full game. She moves very well on the court, anticipating where the opponents are going with their shots. She is solid on both wings and gets consistent depth on her groundstrokes. Martincová has good variety and can take advantage of short balls effectively, although she does not have overwhelming power by any stretch of the imagination.

Chloe Paquet has been battling on clay for the past few weeks, losing to Caroline Garcia in the first round in Palermo last week. Paquet has a nearly even record of 130-127 on hard courts during his career, with a record of 10-8 in 2022.

Paquet used his first serve effectively, with good pace and direction on his first delivery. And, from the baseline, the Frenchwoman is very solid and forces her opponents to go bigger to break through. However, Paquet is very passive from the baseline and struggles to play with controlled aggression.

While Paquet’s first serve is a weapon, when it comes to their baseline games, Martincová is clearly the better player. The Czech can match Paquet’s consistency and also has more weapons and better variety that will allow her to take control of the points.

It’s true that Martincová has lost four matches in a row, but she injured herself in Nottingham (beginning of losing streak), and the grass is her worst surface anyway.

When looking at the Elo ratings, it’s important to note that Martincová’s overall Elo is 240.5 points higher than Paquet’s, and her hard-court Elo is 242.8 points higher than the French.

Martincová should win this game with ease.

Take: Games under 20.5 (-125 via FanDuel)

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Berta D. Wells