Silly season is officially upon us on Week 29 of the WTA Tour with all sorts of weird (and not so wonderful) happenings in Bastad and Bad Gastein.
Taking the positives from yesterday and hopefully a few were on the -8.5 game handicap on Serena Williams, who cruised past Sesil Karatantcheva 6-1, 6-2 in Bastad. In fairness the world number one was helped by 14 double faults from her opponent, who did break the American once.
I said yesterday that Chanelle Scheepers either wins or loses quickly and unfortunately it was the former, so hopefully a few were wiser than me and went with the unders on that one, as Anna Schmiedlova had a poor day.
Wednesday’s schedule in Sweden and Austria features the least appealing line-up of the year in terms of quality and I’d be demanding a refund if I’d bought a ticket to either of these events. Bad Gastein is particularly bad, with a real lack of talent on display.
Starting in Bastad, the opening matches at 10am UK time might be the best with Klara Zakopalova facing Arantxa Parra-Santonja, who she’s lost to three times from three meetings, but they do stretch back to 2003. I wouldn’t be backing Klara at 1.16 for this.
I think that Alexandra Dulgheru has the slight edge over Virginie Razzano in their 10am clash, but it’s been priced up as such, as has the Karin Knapp vs Alexandra Cadantu match in Bad Gastein at 10am. Knapp seems the best value of these at 1.82.
Simona Halep has made the top-25 through her energy-sapping run lately and she’ll be running out of gas again soon, but probably not today against world number 502 Rebecca Peterson.
Similarly, Yvonne Meusberger, who Halep defeated in the final last week in Budapest may be fatigued but she has the pull of playing at home in Austria and should get past Jasmina Tinjic, but it may not be easy, that one.
Mona Barthel has what looks another gimme against Lisa-Marie Moser, ranked 725 in the world, following Barthel’s double bagelling of Chiara Scholl in round one and 1.02 looks about right in that, although Barthel at 1.02 is not something you’ll see too often.
I think the best value bet today is to side with the 2.40 on the in-form Viktorija Golubic, who takes on Andrea Hlavackova at around 4pm UK time today in Bad Gastein.
Golubic has been in great form in Challenger level events of late and the 20-year-old Swiss player defeated Kiki Bertens for the loss of just four games yesterday. It must be noted that Bertens has been struggling with injury lately, so that result may not be as good as it looks, but Hlavackova retired last week in Budapest, so Viktorija’s luck could be in again.
In any case, Hlavackova’s record on clay is appalling, having never once in her career bettered the second round of any clay court tour level event, stretching all the way back to 2005. So it will be a milestone for the Czech if she does it today, but at 2.40 I’m siding with Golubic.
Best Bet: Back Golubic to beat Hlavackova at 2.40