The WTA circuit now picks up steam with two tournaments, starting Monday, in Lexington and Prague in the build-up to the US Open later this month. We take a look at some players to consider from both competitions for Monday’s DraftKings slate, which includes eight games and a $30,000 top contest to look forward to.
Note: Lexington’s tournament will be played on a hard surface and Prague on clay.
Elise Mertens ($9,600)
Jasmine Paolini ($5,600) beat Daria Kasatkina in Palermo last week before she was beaten by Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the second round, the same opponent that beat Mertens in the first round in that tournament. Mertens has developed her baseline game, to the extent that she has one of the fiercest forehands in the game. She has rapidly climbed to No. 23 in the rankings as well. She will be keen to ensure she doesn’t suffer back-to-back first-round losses to start up the WTA circuit.
Kristyna Pliskova ($10,200)
Pliskova is coming into this tournament on the back of a decent start in Palermo. She beat Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-4 in the first round before she was beaten by clay-court specialist Sara Errani in three sets in the second round. Impressively, she won more than 80% of her first-serve points in the first round, which makes a massive difference in women’s matches. Her opponent, Linda Fruhvirtova ($4,900), is ranked 809 in the world, and will find the step-up much harder. Pliskova will look for a fast start in her home tournament.
Aryna Sabalenka ($10,000)
Sabalenka hasn’t played a competitive match since February this year. Her last tournament was an incredibly successful campaign in Doha. That saw her climb to No. 11 in the world. She has been one of the most consistent players in the women’s circuit in the 12 months preceding the suspension of professional tennis. Sabalenka also has the head-to-head advantage: she beat Madison Brengle ($5,300) in straight sets in their only meeting back in 2018 in Miami.
Others to consider: Ons Jabeur ($8,600).
Value flex options
Johanna Konta ($7,800)
Konta’s inconsistent run has seen her fall out of the top 10 in women’s tennis. There was a time, back in 2017 and 2018, when she was not far away from being a permanent feature in the top five. Now, she has slipped to No. 14. She is about even money in this matchup against Marie Bouzkova ($7,400, No. 47 in the WTA rankings). Despite that loss of form, there is a stark difference in the rankings. Konta is the third seed. Her first order of business is returning to winning ways to make progress towards the top 10.
Magda Linette ($8,100)
Linette has played four exhibition matches in the week leading up to this tournament. The results of those matches don’t matter much because it’s all about brushing off the rust that has built up over months. Lauren Davis ($7,000) has played just one competitive match since March. The world No. 36, Linette, will find that having played a few matches in the last week will mean fewer unforced errors and more points won on serve.
Others to consider: Heather Watson ($6,300).
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
Nikhil Kalro is the Founder and CEO of Altletics Esports.