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Tennis DFS Picks: Elena Rybakina and Shuai Zhang, DraftKings, September 9 (FREE)

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The US Open ended with a bang on Sunday, and tennis is right back in action on the WTA side. Some of the game’s top players are playing in Asia this week to get some ranking points, but it is by no means an important tournament for some of the players. The second slate of this tennis DFS week has 28 matches with WTA players in action.

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Elena Rybakina (DraftKings $9,900; FanDuel N/A)

Elena Rybakina is one of the up and coming players on the WTA tour, as she’s skyrocketed over 140 ranking points in one year. Her 2019 hard court record hasn’t been in her favor however, as she’s just 3-6 on the surface. Eight of those nine matches were in the qualifying rounds, but her level of play has increased drastically over the last few months. Rybakina won all three of her US Open qualifying matches in straight sets, and then she got an unlucky draw as she went up against an in-form Karolina Muchova.

Rybakina has a first round matchup with Ankita Raina, the WTA world number 194 from India. Ankita Raina has had a solid hard court season with a 25-14 record, however she is just 3-4 on the WTA level. Outside of Fed Cup matches, Raina is 0-9 against top 100 players in her career on the hard courts. I don’t see her getting that first win today given Rybakina’s level of play, and Raina’s lack of experience against highly ranked opponents. I expect Elena to win in straight sets fairly quickly.

Shuai Zhang (DraftKings $9,400; FanDuel N/A)

Shuai Zhang is back on her home soil in China, and she showed last year that she excels to her top level in these tournaments. Zhang was 11-4 last season during the Asia trip on the WTA side, while reaching three quarterfinals. She hasn’t had a great hard court season in 2019, with a 12-13 record. However, she is yet to lose to anyone ranked outside the top 100 which proves that she is a tough out. Zhang is coming off a third round appearance at the US Open where she fell to the world number 16 Johanna Konta

Zhang will face off against Aleksandra Krunic, the WTA world number 122 from Serbia. Krunic has not been playing her best tennis to say the least, as she has a 7-14 record on the hard courts over the last 12 months. She is riding a five loss streak on the surface, and those losses were all ugly. Krunic won just one set in total, while winning 45% of service points. Losing 30 service games won’t help her cause either, and I don’t see any signs that point towards that changing in this match. Zhang loves playing in China, and she is much more dominant in almost every aspect.

Yafan Wang (DraftKings $8,200; FanDuel N/A)

Yafan Wang has been one of the more consistent players on the WTA tour, as she is 16-10 on the hard courts in 2019. All 10 of her losses and eight of her wins were against players that are currently ranked inside the top 50. Wang captured a title in February in Acapulco where she defeated two big name players in Donna Vekic and Sofia Kenin. Wang is an all around solid player who averages 60% of service points won, and I think she can make some noise in this tournament.

Yafan has a first round meeting with Nina Stojanovic, the WTA world number 134 from Serbia. Stojanovic strives on the clay courts, but her 16-11 record on the hard surfaces shows that she is a good player in general. Stojanovic went 2-1 in the US Open qualifying matches, serving double faults at an 8% rate while losing serve 12 times. Nina is 2-6 in her career against top 100 players on hard courts, and her last five matches were all losses in straight sets. She doesn’t have enough experience to keep up with Wang, and I expect this to be a quick win at a cheap tennis DFS price for Yafan.

Possible upset/value plays: Alison Riske (DraftKings $6,400; FanDuel N/A)

Coming off of one of the best grass court seasons of her career, Alison Riske is proving she can get it done on the hard surfaces. Riske is 4-3 since the end of Wimbledon while taking down two top 30 players. She fell short in the second round at the US Open to Jelena Ostapenko, who can be one of the deadliest players on the tour when she’s on. Riske is winning 63% of first serve points during this seven game stretch, while losing 14 service games in her three losses. However, her opponent is vulnerable at the moment. 

Riske is going up against Angelique Kerber, the WTA world number 15 from Germany. Kerber has been struggling since the grass court season, with an 0-3 record on hard courts. She’s lost 13 service games during this run of losses, while winning just 57% of first serve points. Kerber has been rather consistent throughout her career, but she is not looking like herself at the moment. This tournament probably doesn’t mean much to her, which gives me even more reason to believe that Riske can pull it off.

Best of luck!

Twitter: @CMGCaleb_

Caleb contributes to the tennis coverage at Awesemo.com, providing analysis and picks for some of the top tennis tournaments. Though he specializes in DraftKings' tennis offerings, Caleb's analysis extends to everywhere wise enough to offer tennis daily fantasy sports to the masses. You can contact Caleb by emailing support@awesemo.com.

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