It was a boiling hot start to the 2014 US Open on Monday, as the dial hit the 30s testing the players’ fitness to the maximum.
The forecasters said it would be sunny and warm yesterday, but it wasn’t meant to be that warm and it caught some of the players by surprise – fortunately mine weren’t among the casualties.
Jelena Jankovic, sporting a new hairstyle than we’re used to seeing her with, eased past Bojana Jovanovksi to cover the 5.5 game handicap in my opening bet of the tournament before a second set retirement heralded more profit.
Timea Bacsinszky advanced to round two when Kiki Bertens quit while a set ahead and a break behind and after failing in the first set tie break from set points up the luck turned around quickly there.
Bertens was unwell, but I’ll take the luck where it comes and as far the heat is concerned it’s set to be very warm again on Tuesday.
Starting at 16:00 UK time Mona Barthel should beat the injured Shuai Zhang, who is playing against medical advice with an arm injury today.
Britain’s Heather Watson has a great chance of grabbing her first US Open win against the struggling Sorana Cirstea also at 16:00 (11:00 local) but she’s a little short in the betting against a dangerous if hugely inconsistent opponent.
Varvara Lepchenko looks a good thing in these hot conditions to beat Alison Van Uytvanck, who the American has comfortably dealt with before, and the minus 4.5 games on Lepchenko appeals there at 1.75.
Alison Riske has a puncher’s chance of causing some damage to Ana Ivanovic, while I wouldn’t necessarily trust Sam Stosur in the first round of a major at odds of 1.25 either.
Olga Govortsova isn’t a bad draw for the suffering Genie Bouchard, with the Canadian playing through injury at the moment and having had a poor time of it since Wimbledon.
The +1.5 sets interests me there, but I can’t trust Govortsova, and instead I’m going for a gamble on a player yet to win a match at the US Open in 10 attempts.
Klara Koukalova vs Petra Cetkovska
Surely this wretched run of Koukie’s at the US Open can’t last indefinitely and she looks to have a fine chance to finally taste victory at Flushing Meadows when she takes on Cetkovska at around 20:00 UK time today.
Koukie can’t really complain about having had bad draws here in New York either, as she’s only played one opponent ranked inside the top-75 in her last four visits here and today she faces 66th ranked Cetkovska.
Klara’s terrible record here makes her a good price today though at 1.60 against an opponent who hasn’t played at all for six weeks and hasn’t played on a hard court since Miami back in the spring
The injury prone Cetkovska pulled out of both Cincy and New Haven and she hasn’t tasted victory in a main draw hard court match since beating Na Li in Doha back in week seven.
Koukalova has beaten her in two of their three prior meetings and what could be a really up and down affair there’s no reason other than mental that Koukie can’t win this match against an ailing opponent.
Fran Schiavone should also have a fine chance of progressing against Vania King, who has had a bad hip injury since Washington DC and the only outsiders I had on the shortlist today were Kristina Mladenovic, Slava Shvedova and Chanelle Scheepers.
Mladenovic has a back injury, which puts me off her against Petra Kvitova, who tends to struggle here, while confidence isn’t huge in the other two.
Vika Azarenka’s injury situation makes her a sketchy choice at 1.17, but Domi Cibulkova can’t buy a win this summer and would be a massive upset to CC Bellis.
Best Bet: Back Koukalova to beat Cetkovska at 1.60