TENNIS: One of the last tournaments before Christmas, the WTA 125 Angers offers an early warm-up for the 2023 season and the Australia Open in January. We preview two matches with recommended BETDAQ bets ….

Sofia Kenin v Anhelina Kalinina – BETDAQ MARKET

Thursday 3.45pm

Anhelina Kalinina will be happy with this draw going into the match on the back of four wins out of her last five matches. The Ukrainian number one is now the 53rd-best women’s tennis player in the world and well positioned to progress to the next round, coming up against an opponent ranked 240th.

It is rare that upsets of this magnitude occur though her American opponent Sofia Kenin will undoubtedly believe she can emerge victorious and beat her second Ukrainian opponent in a row.

Kenin has had a mixed season, most recently making it to the semi-finals of the W80 Tyler, where she played some fantastic tennis before being beaten by Yuan Yue, the current world 78.

Before her relative success in Texas, Kenin was beaten in the opening round of the US Open, and throughout 2022 she struggled to win in many matches with higher-ranked opponents, though she did defeat Irina Begu 2-0 at the Cleveland Open.

Kalinina, on the other hand, lost in the semi-finals of the Shrewsbury Open just days ago after an impressive tournament. She also played well throughout the summer, making it to the second round of the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, as well as beating the likes of Emma Raducanu and Sloane Stephens at the Madrid Open.

The Ukrainian is understandably the favourite in the tie at 1.78, but it is no surprise to see Kenin at only 2.22, looking at how well she has played at the tournament so far. However, based on her difficulties against higher-ranked opponents, it is hard to imagine how she finds a way to beat the in-form Kalinina.

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Clara Burel v Varvara Gracheva – BETDAQ MARKET

Thursday 5.30pm

The favourite in this match is Clara Burel despite her lesser WTA ranking of 125. Her opponent is ranked 94th, but Burel’s form in recent tournaments sees her looking the most likely to come away with a victory in what will be a tight game from start to finish.

Burel has a win probability of 54% with BETDAQ, and her inferior WTA points do little to push her from the favourite spot. Her better win rate on hardcourt of 46% also boosts her chances of a victory here against the higher-ranked player, and she will no doubt take confidence from her very impressive run at the US Open that saw her qualify and make it to the third round with an incredible 2-0 win against world 22, Elena Rybakina, in the first round.

Varvara Gracheva has also played well recently. A run to the semi-finals of the Rouen Open and her own great run at the US Open has seen her climb the ranking places recently into the top 100.

Looking at the stats and history of the pair, it seems this is a good match and likely one that will be decided by very fine margins rather than with one player dominating play. Their one previous meeting was won by Burel, perhaps the leading reason she is the 1.88 favourite.

The underdog is the higher-ranked player though, and while rankings aren’t everything, they are a great indicator of consistency and ability to win under pressure and against better opponents. Gracheva is 2.07 to win and could be the punt for better value in this one.

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