Thursday night didn’t quite go to plan as far as WTA is concerned, with my wager on Sloane Stephens blown away at the hands of Elena Vesnina. The young American was probably due a poor performance and Vesnina was able to save five of the six break points she faced, while taking 50% of her own. This gave the scoreline a comfortable look in favour of the Russian.
But Vesnina has her work cut out tonight if she wants to land her first tour level title, as she takes on defending champion Mona Barthel, who landed the Hobart crown as a qualifier 12 months ago.
As impressive as Vesnina has been at times this week, her record in finals is poor. If she’s not careful she might start becoming known as the female Julien Benneteau. She lost the Poitiers as a 1.37 favourite to Monica Puig at the end of last season, which makes seven finals since the start of 2009 that Vesnina has lost. That has to play on her mind going into this one.
This is the first final that Barthel has reached since that Hobart title 12 months ago, but she has a far superior record in title matches than Vesnina. She will also be looking to put the record straight after being thrashed by the Russian in their only career meeting to date, which took place in Beijing towards the end of last season.
Both players have started the 2013 season in good style and there isn't a great deal in this match, but I can't be with Vesnina at around 2.20 considering her dreadful record in finals. Although this could be a competitive encounter I would have to side the German defending champion at a backable 1.80.
Back Barthel to beat Vesnina at 1.80