There’s plenty of WTA action to choose from overnight and in the early hours of the morning in Shenzen, Auckland and Brisbane. There is plenty of British interest, as both Laura Robson and Heather Watson are in action, the former in China and the latter in New Zealand.
It could prove to be a wise decision to forgo the traditional awkward New Year’s shenanigans at midnight and instead tune in to Watson taking on the mercurial talents of Sorana Cirstea in the ASB Classic. Heather ended last season on a real high by grabbing the title in Osaka and she should be able to continue that momentum in an admittedly tricky match against the hit-and-miss Romanian.
The pair have met on one previous occasion, on slow hard courts in Miami last season. Watson came out on top in a tight one that was eventually decided by a final set breaker. Heather has improved since then though, while Cirstea continues to delight and frustrate in equal measure with her attacking game. The latter is prone to errors and I would expect Watson to be too solid tonight at around 1.67
Robson also has a very good chance of progressing in her match against Monica Niculescu, but she looks a tad short at 1.50 against an opponent who ended last season with some confidence building wins at Challenger level.
I prefer taking the 1.66 about Agnieszka Radwanska defeating Kazakh lefty Ksenia Pervak, who had a great win in the previous round over Caroline Wozniacki. Pervak took advantage of an out-of-sorts Wozniacki in a match that was notable mainly for Caro’s father/coach Piotr ranting at his daughter for fully five minutes during one of the changeovers.
It didn’t work, but that success is likely to be as good as it gets for Pervak, who hasn’t made it past the second round of any hard court tournament since Miami in March and Radwanska had her measure in their two meetings of 2012. After a slow start, Radwanska ended up playing well in defeating the dangerous Tamira Paszek in the opening round here in Brisbane and she’s was much the more consistent performer on hard courts over the summer and autumn.
Back Watson to beat Cirstea at 1.67
Back Radwanska to beat Pervak at 1.66