Some of the biggest names in women’s tennis are set to try their luck with the weather at Melbourne Park on Wednesday in the second round of the women’s singles.
Tuesday saw ridiculous temperatures account for a number of players either by retirement or sickness and it wasn’t a good night for my wagers, with neither finding the mark on a day of interesting results.
Wednesday’s heat is set to be slightly less than the 43C recorded on Tuesday, with 38C forecast to be around the maximum that Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber, Sabine Lisicki, Ana Ivanovic and Sam Stosur will have to deal with.
Williams won’t have many issues in getting past Vesna Dolonc, while the sun may be the only factor troubling Kerber against Alla Kudryavtseva. Annika Beck doesn’t have the weapons to beat Ana Ivanovic, but Lisicki and Stosur could well be tested.
Sam Stosur vs Tsvetana Pironkova (BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 08.05 GMT)
The 3-0 head-to-head in favour of the Aussie has led to Stosur being put in as a 1.60 shot here, but I think that’s a little misleading and Pironkova is in superb form at the moment, making her a bit of value here if last week’s Sydney run hasn’t taken it out of her.
It didn’t appear as if it did in another fine display from the Bulgarian in the opening round here against Silvia Soler-Espinosa and if she brings her current form to the court at around 8am UK time on Thursday she’ll surely stand a fine chance of upsetting the crowd favourite.
Stosur’s results over the years her have been well below par and she’ll know that she’s facing a different Pironkova than the one she put away with ease at the end of last season when Tsvetana was even pondering retirement, such was her poor form.
Several markets appeal here, with the 1.52 about Pironkova +1.5 sets looking very likely, while the 2.33 about her taking the first set also appeals.
Lisicki faces a potentially tricky match-up with the awkward Monica Niculsecu and the German, who’s linked up with Martina Hingis for this tournament, will be well advised by the Swiss to come out and get on top of the Romanian from the off. Niculescu could easily throw Sabine’s questionable radar off and the 1.8 about Monica +1.5 sets is worth considering.
Julia Goerges vs Lauren Davis (BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 04.05 GMT)
The tall German faces the tiny American at around 6am UK time on Thursday and I’m quite surprised to see Goerges available to back at around 1.75, as I would have her a touch shorter in a match-up that should suit.
Goerges had a poor, injury hampered season last year, but she’s been impressive so far in 2014 having overcome her wrist problem and if she’s on her game she’ll have too much for Davis, who herself has made a good start to the season.
Julia crushed Sara Errani in round one and with her it’s usually a case of whether her big ground strokes find the target or not. If they do I can’t see the diminutive Davis being able to cope and it’s worth trusting Goerges again at a decent price.
Elsewhere, Ekaterina Makarova should crush Irina Falconi, while Luksika Kumkhum has a chance to back up her shock win over Petra Kvitova when she faces the erratic Mona Barthel.
Kirsten Flipkens should have too much quality for Casey Dellaqua, but the Belgian’s ankle is a worry and Alison Riske and Flavia Pennetta are decent shorter priced options.
Back Pironkova +1.5 sets to beat Stosur at 1.52
Back Goerges to beat Davis at 1.75
Read more from Unibet columnist Sean Calvert.