It was a solid start to the new tennis season yesterday in Brisbane, as my recommended double was successful. Petra Kvitova and Daniela Hantuchova both obliged in straight sets to land the spoils on day one and today’s play sees the men step out on court in main draw action for the first time in the 2013 season.
It might be time to take a chance on Donald Young today, as he looks to put his nightmare 2012 season firmly behind him with a run in Brisbane. Having dropped down to number 189 in the world rankings, the former top junior needs to go through qualifying to get into tournaments at the moment, which might do him some good in terms of rebuilding his confidence.
It certainly seems that way on the evidence of a couple of handy straight sets wins over decent opponents in Olivier Rochus and Mischa Zverev so far this week and there’s no reason why he can’t grab some more ranking points by defeating local favourite John Millman tonight.
The Brisbane-born 23-year-old has also come through qualifying, defeating another American who had a poor season last year, Alex Bogomolov Jr. But Millman is very inexperienced against lefties, having won just two of seven career matches against southpaws.
Young is a far classier player on his day than the Aussie and if he continues the sort of form that we’ve seen from him already this week he should take this one at a price of around 1.62.
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, Jarkko Nieminen takes on Julien Benneteau and brings a surprising 5-0 career head-to-head record over the Frenchman with him. Benny has won ten of his last 12 matches against lefties – the two losses being to Nieminen and Rafa Nadal.
And as far as value is concerned, there’s a chance that Melbourne resident Marinko Matosevic could shock Kei Nishikori at around 3.70, as the Japanese star isn’t usually at his best in the first week of the season.
The WTA schedule tonight in Brisbane features Caroline Wozniacki, Sam Stosur, and Angelique Kerber. All are short in the betting, as you would expect in their opening competitive matches of the season. The wager I like tonight in Brisbane is for Lucie Safarova to continue her recent good form at the expense of one of my favourite players, Sabine Lisicki.
The German continues to be let down by her body and always seems to have some ailment or other preventing her from achieving more than she has managed so far in her career. Hopefully for her sake she’ll have an injury free season in 2013, but she seems to save her best for the grass court season these days. She hasn’t been past the second round on hard courts since Miami last spring.
Safarova will have been boosted by her triumph in the Fed Cup at the end of last season, when she helped the Czech Republic beat Serbia with two dominant victories over Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic. That sort of form is better than anything Lisicki has produced in a while and Safarova is certainly worth a bet at around 1.55 to record the win tonight.
They have met on two occasions previously on the WTA Tour and it’s one win apiece, but both were back in 2009 so not hugely relevant to today’s clash.
I’m happy to take a confident Safarova to continue her good form at the expense of Lisicki in that one.
Back Young to beat Millman at 1.62
Back Safarova to beat Lisicki at 1.55