The WTA Tour heads to the east coast this week for the final opportunity for some match practice ahead of next week’s US Open.
The New Haven Open at Yale is a Premier event that has attracted a pretty decent field, with eight top-20 stars in attendance – although how motivated they will be to win here the week ahead of a Slam remains to be seen. Last year’s tournament went pretty much to form despite its proximity to New York though, with only one betting underdog winning in the 14 first round matches 12 months ago.
The tournament is played at Yale University, where conditions last year were not overly quick and quite humid. There are 13 matches to choose from in New Haven on Monday and favourites that look too short in the betting for me today include Monica Puig, Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens, so I will be avoiding those players.
Alison Riske v Stefanie Voegele
This looks a competitive encounter and I like the chances of the improving Riske in this match, which is scheduled for around 10pm UK time. The American had a poor record on hard until this summer, but has shown steady improvement during and since the grass court swing. She qualified here by beating some decent players, including an easy win over an admittedly out of sorts Yanina Wickmayer.
Voegele has no form on hard courts over the last three years, and since reaching the semi-finals of Charleston on clay earlier this year she’s done very little on tour. The Swiss benefited from a pretty kind draw in qualies (she beat an injured Yaraslava Shvedova) and the battling American looks good value at around 1.80 here on my stats and current form.
Elena Vesnina v Ayumi Morita
The Russian is one player who is definitely in need of matches this week ahead of New York. She's had just four matches on hard courts this swing and she has a decent opportunity to progress here against the hit-and-miss Morita. Vesnina defeated Venus Williams and Kirsten Flipkens last week in Cincy before coming up well short against Aga Radwanska, which is no disgrace.
Morita has been on the comeback trail this hard court swing after a wrist problem and has yet to hit top form. She has suffered some bad losses too, getting beaten easily by Riske last week in Cincy, and really does have highs and lows in her game, which makes her tough to predict. She likes to get on top of opponents and did beat Vesnina on indoor hard earlier this season, but she’s yet to get back to that sort of level since her lay off. The Russian looks good minus 3.5 games on the handicap here at 1.87.
Back Riske to beat Voegele at 1.80
Back Vesnina -3.5 games to beat Morita at 1.87