stephenstomljanovicpick

On Tuesday, world No. 69 Ajla Tomljanovic and world No. 57 Sloane Stephens will face one another at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. Stephens will be carrying a 5-0 head-to-head record into this match, so there will be a serious mental hurdle for Tomljanovic to overcome. The Australian is, however, coming into this tournament on the heels of a run to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.

With Tomjlanovic playing the better tennis coming into this one, it’s hard to focus so heavily on head-to-head history. Stephens, just 10-10 in 2022, isn’t the same player she was when she was blazing her trail through the WTA Tour from 2015 to 2018. The last time these two met was in April 2021; since then, Stephens hasn’t had any major breakthroughs, with a small win at the Abierto Zapopan being the highlight of this uninspiring stretch for the 2017 US Open champion.

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While Tomjlanovic’s quarterfinal appearance might not seem like much, she did take a set off eventual champion Elena Rybakina. If she hadn’t run into the Kazakh at that point, who knows how far she would have gone? Of course, grass is Tomjlanovic’s best surface, and when compared to her 89-108 record on hard courts, it’s hard not to be a little nervous about this one. But confidence is extremely important in sports, and the 29-year-old should feel good about where her game is right now.

As long as Tomjlanovic is able to avoid a massive amount of unforced errors, we like her chances. The odds don’t reflect that because the oddsmakers know that Stephens remains a popular public bet. But Stephens’ 60.8% hold percentage is the lowest she’s had at the WTA level, which shows you that her serve is in a bad place right now. Meanwhile, Tomjlanovic’s 38.1% break percentage is the second-highest mark of her career, so she is set up nicely to take advantage.

All in all, it’s hard not to see Tomjlanovic as a massive value given the difference in form between these two players. Even with the crowd pulling hard for Stephens, we’re keeping it simple and fading the player that hasn’t shown us that she has what it takes to win big matches in quite some time.

The Pick: Tomjlanovic To Win (-125)