The second round matches in the WTA BNP Paribas Open begin this evening, with several top-10 stars in action at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, writes Sean Calvert...
It was another profitable day of WTA betting on Thursday, with Fran Schiavone and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova both winning as underdogs, while Alex Candantu was really poor and failed to make it three winners on the day.
Victoria Azarenka 1.07, Lauren Davis 8.50 - BET and WATCH live on Unibet TV from 03.05 GMT
This match may not be as comfortable for Azarenka as her odds of 1.10 suggest, having only practiced for a week following a foot injury that required her to wear a protective boot.
The boot only came off recently and a lack of competitive tennis this season plus nursing an injured foot that she says she stills feels pain in makes it reasonable to suggest a small wager on American Davis at a big price or on the handicap.
Vika’s last appearance on a tennis court in a competitive match was in Melbourne when she looked far below her best in a match that she ended up being bageled by Aga Radwanska in.
All of this is hardly good preparation for a big tournament, but Davis won’t mind a bit and she’ll be confident after a good run of results in 2014 that’s seen her post a 12-5 mark in all competitions.
Davis is too small in stature to be much of a threat to the top players in normal circumstances, but these are far from normal for Azarenka and the American will chase for as long as possible to make things uncomfortable for the Belarusian.
The windy conditions won’t help Vika’s serving, which has been poor this season by her standards, and the various handicap options on Davis, such as the +6.5 games at 1.75 or to win the first set at 4.90 appeal, as does the overs at 1.73 for more than 17.5 total games.
Heather Watson is in action again today at around 19.00 UK time and she has a tough assignment against Radwanska, who has been too solid for the Brit in the past. Watson has pledged to try different tactics against the Pole this time around, but it’s a tall order for her to win this one. The +5.5 games is tempting on Watson at 1.97 with Aga not being in the best form of late, but I’m not sure I trust the Brit in this one.
Daniela Hantuchova 1.90, Varvara Lepchenko 1.85 - BET and WATCH live on Unibet TV from 19.05 GMT
Dani “I love this tournament” Hantuchova is back at the scene of her 2007 title winning success at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s one her favourite events on tour.
This means little of course, as she says something similar pretty much every week, but after recovering from a knee problem she looks reasonably priced as a 1.90 underdog to get the better of the limited leftie Lepchenko.
Since winning this seven years ago and making the quarters a year later and the fourth round in 2009 Hantuchova has struggled here, with just one victory since, but she does have a good record against left-handers, with a 59 percent win mark in her career.
The Slovak has also won her last three against lefties in Laura Robson, Petra Kvitova and Casey Dellaqua, dropping just one set in the process and even after three weeks off with a knee issue I would have her as slight favourite here.
Injury concerns today surround Sharon Fichman and Yanina Wickmayer after their opening round matches and the only other wager I’m tempted with today is to take Kirsten Flipkens as underdog against Dellaqua.
Kirsten Flipkens 2.08, Casey Dellaqua 1.70 - starts at 21.35 GMT
Flipper was a 1.4 shot when these two met in Melbourne a couple of months ago and the heat did for the Belgian that day in conditions that quite clearly favoured the Aussie, who loves playing in those sweltering conditions.
The Belgian could barely move in the sauna-like heat that day and it seems a big overreaction by the layers to now have Dellaqua as a 1.7 favourite on the basis of that match in such unique conditions.
Granted, Dellaqua has shown improvement under new coach Shannon Nettle, but only once in her career has she been past this stage of a Premier event – and that was back in 2008.
The Aussie may well win this, but the prices look wrong to me and Flipkens is a decent bet as underdog here.
Back Davis +6.5 games to beat Azarenka at 1.75
Back Hantuchova to beat Lepchenko at 1.90
Back Flipkens to beat Dellaqua at 2.08