The Open GDF Suez continued to confound on Wednesday when my double was taken down early by a shocking performance from Klara Zakopalova. There’s nothing hugely surprising about that sort of display from the Czech, but you would like to think that from 4-2 up in set one against a player who hadn’t reached the last eight on indoor hard since 2009, Klara would at least give it a go. Sadly, what followed was a really lacklustre effort of awful serving and wild unforced errors. This handed the match on a plate to Carla Suarez Navarro, who did little more than keep the ball in play.
There was also straight sets defeat for strong favourite Dominika Cibulkova against lucky loser Kiki Bertens and I did mention yesterday that Magdalena Rybarikova appeared to be suffering with illness – she retired after just four games against Sara Errani.
Friday is quarter-finals day in Paris and play begins at around 1pm UK time with lucky loser Bertens taking on Safarova. Bertens won their only prior meeting easily on grass at Wimbledon last year, but it appears that Safarova is starting to find her form now and I fancy the Czech to end the run of Bertens here.
Next up is Sara Errani taking on Carla Suarez Navarro, who defeated the Italian in Melbourne. While I expect Errani to gain swift revenge for that loss I’m not sure I would back her at 1.43 with the way things have gone this week.
The two night matches could be very interesting indeed, with Mona Barthel taking on Marion Bartoli and Mladenovic facing Petra Kvitova.
On yesterday’s form Mladenovic has a great chance of defeating an out of form Kvitova and she’s the one that bigger priced punters will look to today at around 3.0. Kvitova hasn’t convinced for a while, but she does have her favourite conditions now. This one could be tight.
But my bet will be to take Bartoli to defeat the often slow starting and somewhat inconsistent Barthel. Marion will be boosted by her return to Fed Cup duty - an absence of almost a decade was halted by new team captain Amelie Mauresmo. Having made the final here last year she should be determined to do well again in front of her home crowd.
The pair have met on only one occasion and it was on clay last year when Barthel won comfortably. But in these quicker conditions I’ll take Bartoli to land the odds at 1.73
Best bet: Back Bartoli to beat Barthel at 1.73