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tennis | Wednesday, January 18, 2023 8:48 AM (Revised at: Thursday, January 19, 2023 1:16 PM)

Wednesday Tennis Best Bet: WTA Australian Open, Linda Fruhvirtova vs Kimberly Birrell

Wednesday Tennis Best Bet: WTA Australian Open, Linda Fruhvirtova vs Kimberly Birrell
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Linda Fruhvirtova vs Kimberly Birrell Best Bet: Wednesday, January 18th

The bet recaps are a day behind, as the time zones are coming into play with regard to when matches are completed and can be recapped. For Monday’s selection, we had a nice straight-sets win with Petra Martic, as she proved why she should have been a bit shorter in the betting markets against Viktorija Golubic.

For Wednesday’s selection, it’s the contest between one of the young sensations on tour in Linda Fruhvirtova and wild card Kimberly Birrell that we’ll break down for our best bet.

In this article:

Linda Fruhvirtova vs Kimberly Birrell Preview

January 19th, TBD (UK Time)

To put this quite simply, having the Czech teen to win closer to 1.50 than 1.30 is a pretty big mistake.

Known as more of a clay courter, Fruhvirtova simply doesn’t get much respect for her abilities on hard courts.

Her backhand is already a weapon at the top level of women’s tennis and the talent gap here over the 24-year-old Australian is rather large. Her forehand has also shown some progression and ability to inject some pace on the forehand wing in the last 12 months, so targeting that wing isn’t as effective as it once was.

Birrell doesn’t really have any weapons, isn’t an elite mover and bases her game primarily off the ability to ask the question of her opponent and make her hit an extra ball or two. With Fruhvirtova’s clay-court background, consistency isn’t an issue for her and trying to fish for unforced errors isn’t exactly a sound strategy to pull off an upset against her. It also means Birrell may struggle to take advantage of the Fruhvirtova second serves, and allow the youngster to manage to win a strong share of those points, which is her primary weakness at the moment.

She’s also a young player that won’t break down nearly as easily as Birrell’s first-round opponent in Kaia Kanepi. The Estonian’s big ground game was working well on the quicker courts and she was in control, with the chance to serve out the match leading 6-3, 5-4 before losing the second set and falling off in the decider.

Linda Fruhvirtova vs Kimberly Birrell Best Bet

Even if one factors in the boost Aussies seemingly get from playing at home and in front of the raucous crowds, I find it hard to believe that a games handicap set at a number under four games is correct.

Birrell is far from being a tour-level player, is taking on someone much better than her and the game style she managed to employ to wear down her previous opponent (from the brink of defeat) simply isn’t as effective in this matchup.

Her ranking of 167th in the world isn’t even really indicative of her level, with many of her results coming at the lower levels of the ITF Tour and being inflated by good runs at Australian W60 events that draw notoriously weak fields (think of how prohibitive the costs are to travel for most players to Australia when they aren’t making much money to begin with).

I’m happy to give up a 3.5-game head start here to back an extremely talented young gun that’s already firmly inside the world’s top 100 against an overvalued player who barely progressed through the opening round and is in the event thanks to a wild card.

  • Selection: Fruhvirtova -3.5 Games
  • Best Odds: 1.93 (Pinnacle)
  • Stakes: 6/10

Odds as at 2:45 am on January 18th, 2022. Odds may now differ.

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