The WTA Tour heads back to Europe this week as the clay season continues. This week’s tournament is the Katowice Open in Poland. This $235,000 International event is one of just two on the 2013 calendar to be played on indoor clay and the top stars on display this week include Petra Kvitova, Roberta Vinci, Julia Goerges, Sabine Lisicki, Laura Robson, Klara Zakopalova and the returning Kaia Kanepi. Kanepi is playing for the first time since Tokyo last year after suffering a heel injury and it will be interesting to see how she does after enjoying a very good clay court swing in 2012.
The tournament is being held for the first ever time this year after taking over the week 15 slot from the now defunct Copenhagen event, so there are no previous results or surface information to go on. Monday’s schedule sees the remaining qualifying matches and some of the first round clashes take place and in truth there aren’t many options to choose from.
Zakopalova takes on fellow Czech Kristyna Pliskova and you would expect the number three seed to come through that one, but 1.18 is a little short for my interest. Instead it’s worth placing faith in Robson to come through her tricky opening round match, which kicks off at around 7.45pm this evening, against Lourdes Dominguez Lino at a tempting 1.83.
Robson is very effective on clay with her powerful ground strokes and this match is one that she is more than capable of winning fairly comfortably if she has a good day. You’re never quite sure what’s going to come off Laura’s racquet from one point to the next, but Dominguez Lino has done nothing this season and comes into this match with a 5-8 win/loss record. She hasn’t played since a first round loss in Miami.
Laura lost early on the green clay of Charleston, but at least she’s had some game time on the surface. Of course she’ll be encountering a different type of clay this week, but her performances on the red dirt last year when she beat the likes of Roberta Vinci and Carla Suarez Navarro show that she can play to a high level. The Spaniard is a pretty solid player, but if Laura finds her range she should have too much firepower.
Best bet: Back Robson to beat Dominguez Lino at 1.83
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