The WTA China Open reaches it’s third round stage on Wednesday, with several of the game’s top ranked stars in action on day four.
It was three winners from my four bets on Tuesday, with the held over match between Carla Suarez Navarro and Lauren Davis supplying a handicap winner, while there were also comfortable set handicap wins for Angelique Kerber and Na Li, with the latter dropping just a single game against Bojana Jovanovski. The only loss on the day was a final set defeat for Eugenie Bouchard against Sloane Stephens.
The weather is set fair for Wednesday in Beijing with a sunny day forecast and surprisingly low humidity, which might give some respite to the beleaguered players, whose lungs are filled with rancid air on a daily basis here.
Out early at 5.30am UK time are Sveta Kuznetsova and Jelena Jankovic, who take on Andrea Petkovic and Galina Voskoboeva respectively, but the two late matches appear to hold the most interest on Wednesday.
Sara Errani vs Petra Kvitova
This one begins at around 11.30am UK time and it’s always an interesting match-up due to the clash of styles of the heavy hitting, all out attack of Kvitova and the cat-and-mouse defence of the Italian.
Kvitova, last week’s Tokyo champion, was pretty much her typical self on Tuesday when she lost the opener 6-2 to Varvara Lepchenko before winning the next two sets 6-2, 6-0. The obvious concern with Kvitova here in China is the polluted air causing problems with her breathing and aggravating her asthma, which could explain why she's never been past this third round stage in Beijing.
Errani has been struggling for form for most of the summer, but she has taken a set from the Czech in their last two meetings, despite having lost all five of their matches. China is not a happy hunting ground for Errani either, as this is her first time into the third round here and she’s done it by virtue of facing two players lacking in power. If Kvitova can keep her focus she should win this comfortably, but will she? If you trust her not go AWOL, then the minus 4.5 games on the handicap looks good here at around 1.90.
Sabine Lisicki vs Na Li
This match is a real popcorn affair to end the day’s WTA action with and both players are bang in form so far this week.
Both had easy wins on Tuesday, with Lisicki punishing an out-of-sorts Venus Williams, while Na Li landed one of my bets with that 6-0, 6-1 win over Jovanovski. The pair have met on three previous occasions and each one has been close, with their three set battle in the Wimbledon second round being the most memorable. Lisicki won 8-6 in the decider that day, but Li has been in superb form here so far and there is a distinct feeling that Sabine’s win over Venus flattered her slightly.
The Chinese is yet to win or even reach the final in her home event though, so she’ll be feeling the pressure and we know she doesn’t always deal with that too well. She will know that an in-form Lisicki is not to be taken lightly and could easily pinch a set at a price of around 1.82.
Sabine has never done well here in Beijing before now though and she’s never been beyond round two until this week and that combined with her general hard court form leads me to side with the home player. Her price of 1.32 is short though and a better bet is to take the over 20.5 games at around 1.80.
Back Kvitova –4.5 games to beat Errani at 1.90
Back over 20.5 games in Li vs Lisicki at 1.82