Things improved in the women’s draw of the French Open on Thursday – at least as far as my bets were concerned.
After a quite incredible day on Wednesday where so many favourites fell by the wayside the luck briefly turned my way as Paula Ormaechea benefitted from a rain delay and good night’s sleep to overturn a bad situation against Monica Niculsecu.
The Argentine looked down and out at 2-6, 0-2 when the rain came on Wednesday night, but she went on to save match point and take the match comfortably in the decider.
Shortly prior to that Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor won the opener against Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2, then lost the second 2-6, and finally won the last five games on the bounce to see my minus 3.5 game handicap bet over the line.
Bizarre stuff indeed, but this time it went my way, however Heather Watson fell just short of taking the one set she needed against Simona Halep, with the second set proving very competitive, but not quite close enough.
We start at 10:00 UK time again on Friday, with the third round of the women’s singles, where there are eight matches scheduled for today.
Dominika Cibulkova 2.55 Samantha Stosur 1.49
This match-up is a bad one for diminutive Domi, who struggles to reach the Stosur kick serve and was beaten easily by the Aussie in Madrid.
Indeed, Domi is yet to take a set from Stosur in any of their four prior meetings on clay and hard courts and the match-up looks to be a poor one for the Slovak.
I backed Cibulkova as a lively outsider pre-tournament, but was very disappointed when I saw she had been drawn with Stosur and it’s tough to see how she can turn this career series around unless Sam has one of her shockers.
The weather is set to be dry overnight and on Friday and a drying court would favour Stosur, as the damp impacts upon her top spin and looser, dryer clay gives that kick serve more, well, kick.
Domi says she has a new plan for today’s match and she’s going to need one, that’s for sure, but it’s hard to see what she can do about it other than attack the suspect Stosur backhand and perhaps take the ball earlier on the return.
It’s a tough one for Domi and the minus 3.5 looks the bet at 2.05 on Stosur.
Elsewhere on Friday it should be really interesting to see how Taylor Townsend gets on against Carla Suarez Navarro, with the American not without a chance of covering the set handicap there if she gets going.
Ajla Tomljanovic can give the ball a good wallop and as such she could be dangerous for Aga Radwanska, but the Pole’s career has been built on neutralising such threats.
Maria Sharapova should beat Ormaechea easily enough, but I don’t trust Genie Bouchard or Garbine Muguruza at short prices.
It was inevitable that Muguruza would be too short in her next match after beating Serena Williams and Karolina Anna Schmiedlova could take a set there for sure at 1.79.
Finally, Mona Barthel shouldn’t be 1.33 to beat anyone on clay and with the home crowd behind her in the late afternoon Pauline Parmentier might well have a say in proceedings there.
Best Bet: Back Stosur –3.5 games to beat Cibulkova at 2.05
Bet on the women's French Open.