Leylah Fernandez is up against the world’s top women’s tennis player, Iga Swiatek.
The pregame narrative: Fernandez defeated Julia Grabher in straight sets to open her tournament. Swiatek, however, presents an overwhelming challenge for every women’s player on the planet, making this a very difficult matchup.
Check out our Swiatek vs. Fernandez Dubai Tennis Championships picks for February 20.
Swiatek vs. Fernandez Dubai Tennis Championships picks
Best Bet : Under 17.5 games (+118)
Expecting a quick match between these two isn’t an indictment on Fernandez, but respect for Swiatek’s game.
The Polish tennis superstar is as accomplished as any other player currently on the tour. Just last week at the Qatar Open, she set the record for the fewest games lost (five) en route to a WTA title in the Open Era.
The three-time Grand Slam champion’s well-rounded game is what makes her so difficult to beat. Swiatek and Fernandez are actually tied in service games won percentage (83.1%) this year, according to WTAtennis.com, but it’s in the return game where the former outdoes the latter.
Swiatek ranks third in first return percentage (47.5%), second in second return percentage (66.1%), and first in return points won (54.5%). That’s a major advantage over Fernandez, who’s not an accomplished returner, grading outside the top 90 WTA players in first and second return percentage.
Key stat: Six of Swiatek’s last seven wins have needed 17 games or less.
Fernandez under 6.5 games (-130): As a competitor who can neutralize the best of serves on the tour and owns one herself, Swiatek presents a difficult challenge for Fernandez. The Canadian won her first-round match at this tournament by winning 89% of her service games.
That’s just not a repeatable path to success against Swiatek. She ranks third in return games won percentage (59.3%) in 2023. Swiatek’s opponents have failed to win seven games in six of her last seven appearances.
Under 8.5 games – Set 1 (+108): Opponents typically realize quickly they’re overmatched when facing Swiatek. Four of her last six, and six of her last nine, first sets have gone below this number.
In Fernandez’s most recent loss at the Qatar Open, Karolina Pliskova only needed eight games to defeat her in the first set.
Disclaimer This content was produced as part of a partnership and therefore it may not meet the standards of impartial or independent journalism.