The women’s draw on Wednesday night offers a nice opportunity for a treble, with several moderate to strong favourites looking likely winners.
The first of these is Yanina Wickmayer, who has been in good touch lately and who silenced the Aussie crowd in the first round with a straight sets win over Jarmila Gajdosova.
Belgian Wickmayer showed excellent form in Auckland in the opening tournament of the season and since she’s been injury free she’s been able to produce something like her best without worrying about her body breaking down.
Wickmayer is in a class above anything that opponent Jana Cepelova has displayed – certainly in Grand Slams where Cepelova’s win over Greta Arn in the opening round was her first victory at a hard court Slam.
The next leg involves sticking with the in-form Jamie Hampton, who is impressing at the moment and who was once again when dismissing Ula Radwanska in the first round in a match that I thought would be closer.
An improved fitness regime seems to have worked wonders for Hampton, who is crushing the ball at the moment and she should have too many weapons for Luksika Kumkhum.
The Thai player has had some decent results herself lately and took down Sofia Arvidsson in round one at a big price, but I don’t rate the Swede outdoors and Hampton looks good to reach round three.
Finally, another American, Sloane Stephens looks likely to reach round three at the expense of Kristina Mladenovic.
Stephens has been living up to her lofty reputation lately and after solid showings in Brisbane and Sydney she crushed Simona Halep in the first round here.
A repeat of her recent level will be enough to take down Mladenovic who had a titanic struggle in her first round win over Timea Babos, which ended 11-9 in the decider.
Mladenovic did beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the US Open last year, but that’s her best result at a Slam by some distance and I’d be surprised if she were able to take a set from Stephens tonight.
Elsewhere, there’s an intriguing match between Caro Wozniacki and young sensation Donna Vekic, which I expect will result in another dull, counter punching win for Woz, but hopefully Vekic will show what she can do on the big stage.
Others that look a tad short in the betting include Kimiko Date-Krumm and Elena Vesnina, but the treble looks the way to go at around 1.91.
Best Bet: Back Wickmayer, Hampton and Stephens in a treble at 1.91