We’ve arrived at the fourth round stage of the 2014 BNP Paribas Open, where 16 players will look to seal the eight quarter final spots on Tuesday, writes Sean Calvert...
Our defending champion, Maria Sharapova, was taken down after a truly dreadful performance by the Russian against the capable but erratic Camila Giorgi yesterday, while it was one winner from my two best bets on the day.
Sveta Kuznetsova took the required set from Petra Kvitova before folding in a bagel final set to the Czech, while Kate Makarova narrowly failed to cover the handicap against Domi Cibulkova.
Play begins at 6pm today, with perhaps the game of the day, between two of the WTA’s up and coming stars.
Simona Halep 1.47, Eugenie Bouchard 2.60 - BET and WATCH live on Unibet TV from 18.05 GMT
I’m quite surprised to see Halep as short as 1.47 in this tight-looking encounter against the in-form Canadian Bouchard.
Simona looked a little tired and was rather fortunate in the end to come through her third round clash with Lucie Safarova, who, as is her wont, blinked with the finish line in sight and rather handed the match to the Romanian.
I’ve learned to my cost not to pay much notice to Halep’s pre and post match comments, as she does tend to be a tad misleading about her physical state, but if you believe her she says she’s over her ankle injury and can perform at 100 percent.
Oddly, she also put her iffy performance against Safarova down to the weather being cold at home and her not being prepared for the heat.
As I said, she does come out with some strange comments at times and to me she looked fatigued, which won’t aid her cause against Genie, who looks a touch of value here at 2.60 in their first career meeting.
Bouchard enjoys the conditions here and her height will help with the high bounce here, while it shouldn’t in theory aid the shorter Halep and for me the price on Genie looks good today.
Jelena Jankovic 1.68, Caroline Wozniacki 2.12 - BET and WATCH live on Unibet TV from 19.05 GMT
This one will surely be a grind, unless the back injury that the drama queen JJ felt the need to show everyone in her last match by hanging off the umpire’s chair plays a part.
Their career match-up has been an odd one, with Wozniacki winning the last five in a row after losing the first four of the series to the Serb. They haven’t actually played a completed match against each other since 2012 though, so they resume rivalries today in a head-to-head that has generally seen convincing wins for one or the other.
Only once has this career series seen an opening set go past 10 games and the winner of the opening set has won the match seven times in the nine prevous meetings.
Caro was perhaps rather fortunate to get past Slava Shvedova in the previous round here and as per usual the Dane was far from impressive, but that’s how she wins her matches and I would question whether a half-fit Jankovic would have the power to hit through Wozniacki in these slow conditions.
Wozniacki clearly loves this tournament and the lack of pace in the courts and speed of the ball through the air suits her style and to me she’s a touch of value at 2.20 today in a match-up she knows well and has been successful in.
Elsewhere, there are some very tight-looking clashes tonight, with an all-Italian match-up between Giorgi and Flavia Pennetta looking a tough one to call, as is Lauren Davis vs Casey Dellaqua, but Kvitova certainly looks like one to consider as underdog against Cibulkova.
Back Bouchard to beat Halep at 2.60
Back Wozniacki to beat Jankovic at 2.20