- The field for the second edition of the Ostrava Open feels very different from the inaugural event in 2020
- Top seed Iga Swiatek is a relatively weak favorite to take it all despite little hard-court success in 2021
- Read on for a breakdown of key first-round matches, and some winning picks
The dates for Ostrava this year are too close to the just-completed US Open. And there is a similar-sized tournament next week in Chicago followed by the last big one of 2021 at Indian Wells.
And both of those are a continuation of the summer outdoor season.
So that has meant a weaker, almost universally European flavor to the second edition of the Ostrava Open.
J&T Banka Ostrava Open Singles Odds
|||Iga Swiatek (POL)||+500|
|||Petra Kvitova (CZE)||+600|
|||Elena Rybakina (KAZ)||+750|
|||Maria Sakkari (GRE)||+800|
|||Belinda Bencic (SUI)||+850|
|||Angelique Kerber (GER)||+1100|
|–||Anett Kontaveit (EST)||+1100|
|||Paula Badosa (ESP)||+1400|
|||Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)||+2000|
|–||Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP)||+2500|
|–||Ana Konjuh (CRO)||+2500|
|–||Veronika Kudermetova (RUS)||+2800|
|–||Jil Teichmann (SUI)||+2800|
|–||Yulia Putintseva (KAZ)||+3300|
|–||Varvara Gracheva (RUS)||+6600|
Odds as of Sept. 19 at Bet365
Not Much History at New Ostrava Event
This tournament stepped in and filled a huge hole in the schedule last fall, after the pandemic scuttled the Asian swing.
As a result, the draw was deep. It’s a completely different tournament this year, even if the No. 8 seed (before she withdrew) was ranked No. 22 – just like in 2020.
For the top four seeds, who have byes, it will only require four victories to take the title.
The seeds are completely different; the only returnee among the eight from a year ago is Elena Rybakina. No Aryna Sabalenka or Victoria Azarenka (last year’s finalists). No Coco Gauff or Ons Jabeur.
In recent years, Sabalenka has been the “late-season hard-court queen” of the WTA.
A Few Late Czechs Not Cashed
There had originally been quite a few more “home girls” on the entry list.
But there were some late pullouts there as well.
❕ENTRY LIST ANNOUNCEMENT ❕
During our live press conference today (check out our Instagram and Facebook), we published our entry list and we cannot be more excited to welcome these amazing players in Ostrava again. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/FEvDsEi7DV
— J&T Banka Ostrava Open 2021 (@JTBankaOpen) August 30, 2021
Karolina Pliskova was a late withdrawal in Ostrava. French Open (and Prague WTA) champ Barbora Krejcikova also pulled out.
Karolina Muchova was due to be the No. 8 seed, but pulled out after the draw had already been made. That resulted in the relocating of Paula Badosa to the No. 9 seed (and away from a first-round clash with Caroline Garcia). Elina Svitolina also changed her plans.
Previous J&T Banka Ostrava Open Winners and Finalists
|2020||Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)||Victoria Azarenka (BLR)|
First-Round Potential Upset Alerts
Angelique Kerber (-250) vs Jil Teichmann (+200)
The two are meeting for the first time.
Kerber has an excellent WTA main draw career record against fellow lefties – 40-24. But Teichmann, much younger, has an even better one.
She is 16-9 overall in her career, going all the way back to the lowest levels of tennis. But in WTA main-draw matches, she is undefeated at 6-0 against southpaws.
Kerber turned around a sub-par season starting on the grass, and through Cincinnati and New York. But she had a bruising US Open. The German reached the fourth round, but three of the four matches were tough three-setters. And she ended up losing to eventual finalist Leylah Fernandez. Still, she’s on a 17-3 run coming in.
✔️ No. 3 Naomi Osaka
✔️ No. 16 Angelique Kerber
✔️ No. 5 Elina Svitolina
✔️ No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka
— ESPN (@espn) September 10, 2021
For Teichmann, the US Open came a little too soon after a brilliant run in Cincinnati. There, she defeated Osaka, Bencic and Pliskova in a row before losing to Ashleigh Barty in the final.
This one feels like a battle, mostly likely a three-setter.
Paula Badosa (-350) vs Varvara Gracheva (+265)
Badosa had been due to play Caroline Garcia, who boasted a 1-0 record against her.
But after the last-minute withdrawal of No. 8 seed Karolina Muchova in Ostrava, Badosa became the No. 9 seed. And she also was moved into Muchova’s spot in the draw.
As it shook out, she ends up meeting lucky loser Varvara Gracheva of Russia instead.
Badosa struggled in New York, losing to Gracheva in straight sets.
She’s had a heavily-taped shoulder. And after losing the coach who helped her finally kickstart her career (Javier Marti) last month, she announced just last Friday that she’s going back to work with childhood coach Jorge García for the rest of 2021.
All of that baggage means his one might be ragged; the New York memories vs Gracheva will be fresh.
Best Bet: Elena Rybakina (+750)
Longer shot: Belinda Bencic (+850)