Thursday in Bastad was a very profitable one for this column. Both of my best bets were winners, starting with the Flavia Pennetta versus Simona Halep match, which went precisely the way I expected it to, Halep retiring and yielding a 3.75 success for Pennetta backers.
That was followed later on by Mathilde Johansson defeating qualifier Andrea Gamiz in the predicted straight sets. The Swedish-born French player had to overcome a 3-5* deficit and a set point to take the opener, but Johansson took advantage of the Gamiz choke and was a comfortable 2-0 winner at 1.75 in the end.
Friday is quarter-finals day in both Bastad and Bad Gastein, but the line-ups aren’t exactly likely to get the pulse racing.
In Sweden they begin with Klara Zakopalova taking on qualifier Richel Hogenkamp. The 1.15 about Klara is too short here for my interest, as is the 1.55 about Johanna Larsson against Johansson. I have Larsson as marginal favourite in that one, so there may be a slight bit of value on Mathilde, but not enough to tempt me into a wager.
Serena Williams faces the very capable Lourdes Dominguez Lino at around lunchtime and there may be some value in siding with the Spaniard on the handicap in this one against a demotivated Williams. On faster clay in Madrid earlier this year, LDL was a 6-2, 7-5 loser to Serena, and the slower conditions here will aid her defensive cause. Williams hasn’t been great this week against some pretty mediocre opposition and Lourdes can win this with a 7.5-game start at 2.0.
The other 10am match in Bastad looks tough to call, with veterans Virginie Razzano and Pennetta facing off for the fifth time in their careers. Razzano holds a 4-0 head-to-head lead and although those matches were years ago on hard courts, I still don’t like the 1.52 about the Italian in that one. The slight value there lies with the French player for me.
The 10am match in Bad Gastein features Karin Knapp and Annika Beck. I’m not sure I’d have Knapp as slight favourite here, despite Beck having a Medical Time-Out (MTO) in her match yesterday. Beck beat the Italian comfortably on the clay in Nurnberg five weeks ago and if she’s fit the 2.10 about the German has to be value. The market may have overreacted to Beck’s MTO yesterday, so I’ll side with her as underdog here.
Arantxa Rus has somehow found her way to the last eight of a tour level event, but should be beaten by local favourite Yvonne Meusberger today, while Andrea Hlavackova, who is in her first tour level clay quarter-final after ten years on the tour, takes on another local player in Lisa-Marie Moser. The 22-year-old’s career prior to this week has yielded $5,441 in total and she’s here thanks to a wildcard and an injury to Mona Barthel. Hlavackova’s run here should continue.
Back Dominguez-Lino +7.5 games to beat Williams at 2.0
Back Beck to beat Knapp at 2.10