The WTA Tour moves on to Sweden and Austria this week, with two International events. Serena Williams is the main attraction in Bastad, where she headlines the Collector Swedish Open, while there is a distinctly low-key feel to the Nurnberger Gastein Ladies 2013 with world number 30 Mona Barthel heading the field in Austria.
Barthel plays today in Bad Gastein and is a 1.07 shot against American world number 235 Chiara Scholl. But another short-priced favourite who should have even fewer problems is Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, who faces the hapless Arantxa Rus at around lunchtime.
Rus’s infamous run of losses in the main draw at tour level now stands at 18 and she lost last week as a 1.13 favourite at Challenger level to world number 475 Sandra Roma. Rus has dropped to 222 in the world herself and Torro-Flor has beaten her twice on clay this year without dropping a set. The 1.55 about her doing so again looks pretty good to me.
Over in Bastad I like the 1.80 about Alla Kudryatseva to win her opening match against 30-year-old world number 230 Arantxa Parra-Santonja at around 4pm UK time.
This pair have met twice already in 2013 with the Russian winning both in straight sets, and you have to go all the way back to two years ago for the Spaniard’s last win at tour level. Indeed, she hasn’t played a single main draw match at tour level for over a year and has spent most of her time unsuccessfully attempting to qualify.
I saw Kudryatseva on the practice courts at Wimbledon a couple of weeks ago and she did have quite a large bandage on her left thigh, but she performed well in the grass swing, beating Kimiko Date-Krumm and Heather Watson in addition to today’s opponent. She should be too classy for Parra-Santonja today.
Back Torro-Flor -1.5 sets to beat Rus at 1.55
Back Kudryatseva to beat Parra-Santonja at 1.80