The WTA China Open continues on Tuesday, with another 10 matches scheduled in Beijing – weather permitting.
There is a very high likelihood of rain in Beijing on Tuesday, which will make a nice change from smog and, who knows, the players might even be able to breathe after a clearing shower or two.
Serena and Venus Williams, Laura Robson, Petra Kvitova and Li Na are all on the card for Tuesday, but there’s no Vika Azarenka after she was beaten in an awful, error-strewn performance by Andrea Petkovic on Monday.
That result cost me one of my bets, but the second one was a winner when Lucie Safarova was a straight sets winner over Kaia Kanepi and my final bet has been rearranged for today.
Serena Williams is on too early at 5.30am UK time and her match should be easy enough against Fran Schiavone, but Venus has a tough one against Sabine Lisicki in which there may be some value on the German as underdog.
Sloane Stephens vs Eugenie Bouchard
We get a quick rematch between two of the game’s brighter young talents here, as 19-year-old Canadian Bouchard looks to back up last week’s hard fought win in Tokyo over the 20-year-old American.
The conditions were much quicker in Japan last week and the slower surface and heavier balls here in Beijing would only aid Bouchard more, one would assume. Last week’s match was a typical WTA affair, of Stephens serving for the match and blowing it, while Bouchard choked away a 5-0 lead in a set she lost 7-5.
What was also apparent was that Stephens was unable to hit through Eugenie in the end and it seems to me that she would be less likely to do so in these heavy conditions, so the 2.00 on Bouchard looks the call here.
Laura Robson vs Angelique Kerber
This battle of the lefties begins at the reasonable hour of around 11.30am UK time and it will be the third meeting between the pair of a series that’s currently tied at 1-1.
Robson defeated the German at Wimbledon in 2011 and they haven’t met since, but you would have to favour Kerber on the current form of both players. Laura, who has been coming in for some criticism lately from certain ill-informed members of the media, edged past Klara Zakopalova in a horrible match over well over 100 unforced errors in the first round here and a marked improvement is needed from the Brit.
She is highly capable of doing so of course and she has played a lot of tennis in China, so the conditions shouldn’t be a problem. If anything it’s likely to be Kerber who may struggle having made the final in Tokyo last week and it remains to be seen how well she comes out of that week. It’s always tricky trying to predict how Laura will play, but she’s on a run of five straight 2-0 losses against top-10 ranked opponents right now and Kerber has the form to win this one in the same fashion.
Bojana Jovanovksi vs Na Li
The Chinese superstar rightly gets top billing at around 12.30pm UK time against last week’s Ningbo champion Jovanovski.
The Serbian ball basher also won in Tashkent two weeks ago, so she’s had a fine Asian swing so far, but surely all that effort will count against her here against the crowd favourite. Bojana had to come from behind in both the semi final and final in Ningbo and she could pay the price against a motivated and fresh Li, whose win against Dani Hantuchova here was her first match in a month.
It was impressive stuff from the Chinese against Dani and although Jovanovski has a lot of power I doubt that will get her very far against this class of opposition. The Na Li minus 1.5 sets at 1.55 looks good here.
Back Bouchard to beat Stephens at 2.00
Back Kerber –1.5 sets to beat Robson at 1.75
Back Na Li –1.5 sets to beat Jovanovski at 1.55