The AEGON Classic in Birmingham is at the last-16 stage, with quarter final spots up for grabs on Thursday.
My only bet of the day on Wednesday failed to find the mark as Sam Stosur delivered a very rare good performance on the grass to ease past Christina McHale in straight sets.
It wasn’t the best from McHale, who struggled to put the Aussie under any real pressure and for once on grass Stosur didn’t beat herself and committed only 10 unforced errors, which was surprising for Stosur’s opening match on this surface.
There are eight matches in-play on Thursday, starting at 11:00 UK time with what could be a tricky one for Sloane Stephens, who faces grass-loving fellow American Alison Riske.
I watched Stephens at Wimbledon last year and she should be decent on this surface, but she looks a little short for a betting interest at 1.52 in this match and I prefer taking a look at the other 11am start.
Timea Babos vs Barbora Zahlavova Strycova
This looks the likeliest upset today, with lucky loser Babos showing some great form in Birmingham this week and, as they tend to do on many occasions, she’s making the most of her opportunity.
After losing to Britain’s Katy Dunne in qualies, Timea got in when Irina Falconi withdrew and she’s grabbed the chance by beating two good opponents in straight sets since.
Marina Erakovic and Madison Keys are very good scalps on this surface and the attacking game of Babos is well-suited to grass, as she’s shown before when making the semis of Wimbledon juniors and beating the likes of Riske in these conditions.
The Hungarian is serving very well and any repeat of the level she’s been showing should be enough against BZS, who struggled past Britain’s Naomi Broady before her win over Lucie Safarova yesterday and it’s that win that has made the Czech too short today.
Lucie tends to struggle on grass though and this match today will come down to how well Zahlavova Strycova can defend, as she does move pretty well on grass, but the Safarova match was a big effort and she might pay for that today after also going three sets against Broady.
Elsewhere, defending champion Dani Hantuchova takes on the seemingly ageless Kimiko Date-Krumm in what could well be an up and down affair, while I wouldn’t count out Casey Dellaqua against fellow Aussie Sam Stosur.
Sam played a great match for once against McHale, but this surface suits Dellaqua better for me and the 3.25 about her today is tempting in their first career meeting for over 10 years.
I also like Klara Koukalova to get the better of the erratic, big hitting American Coco Vandeweghe, who got a little lucky with the rain delay when beating Yanina Wickmayer a couple of days ago. Koukie should be too solid for Coco in that one.
Ana Ivanovic has never been up to much on grass, but she should have too much for Lauren Davis to handle today, while Petra Cetkovska and Kirsten Flipkens both enjoy the grass and are decent choices to progress today.
Back Babos to beat Zahlavova Strycova at 2.18