Friday night was a very profitable one for this column, with both of my best bets winning at odds-against at the BNP Paribas Open. Lara Arruabarrena-Veci was a comfortable straight sets winner at 2.60 over Varvara Lepchenko before my treble of Klara Zakopalova, Carla Suarez Navarro and Roberta Vinci came in at 2.33.
There are several odds-against shots that tempt me in Saturday’s draw at Indian Wells, including include Madison Keys against Sam Stosur and Garbine Muguruza over Ekaterina Makarova. But the price of around 2.85 on Kirsten Flipkens is too good to miss in her clash with the in-form Monica Niculescu.
The Romanian has been put in too short for my liking at 1.40, largely due to her winning in Florianopolis last week and backing it up by bagelling Elina Svitolina in the first round here. But she’s going to hit the wall at some point after a lot of tennis and Flipkens has the sort of game that can deal with her weird style, as she proved by beating her in Hobart at the start of the year.
Niculescu’s unique style of play won’t be a surprise to the Belgian as it is to so many of the more one-dimensional ball-bashers on the WTA Tour. Flipkens showed in that Hobart event that she can counter the bamboozling style of both Niculescu and Fran Schiavone.
Flipkens will be the fresher of the two after losing in round one of Florianopolis to eventual finalist Olga Puchkova and it’s worth either siding with her to win a set at 1.70 or backing her to win the match at 2.85.
Best bet: Back Flipkens to beat Niculescu at 2.85