After a pretty good week in Miami it’s been a tough start to proceedings in Charleston, where there was a very disappointing display from Silvia Soler-Espinosa on Wednesday.
The Spaniard was awful, serving at just 29% of first serves in play in the opening set of her loss to Caro Wozniacki and that’s not going to get it done against many players in the top-20.
Combined with a slew of unforced errors it was curtains for Soler-Espinosa, whose resistance had gone.
Of the other matches I mentioned yesterday, Jelena Jankovic did indeed struggle as a 1.18 favourite and had to save match points to avoid a straight sets loss to Caroline Garcia, while Venus Williams was taken the distance by Monica Puig.
Over in Monterrey Ana Ivanovic was beaten at 1.15 by Timea Babos and it was the end for Laura Robson in Charleston as she was defeated by her pal Eugenie Bouchard.
Today’s schedule in Charleston offers a few value options in terms of backing the outsiders and the ones that have chances seem to be Madison Keys against Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Sorana Cirstea against Lucie Safarova, Varvara Lepchenko against Williams, Stefanie Voegele against Julia Goerges and Jessica Pegula against Jankovic.
The biggest price is Pegula, who takes on what will surely be an exhausted Jankovic, who’s for played five-and-a-half hours in just two matches following a run to the Miami semi-finals.
Pegula has taken down Garbine Muguruza and Mona Barthel already and at 3.55 she’s worth risking a few pounds to make it a hat-trick against the Serbian.
Keys is very inexperienced on clay, but surely she shouldn’t be the underdog against Mattek-Sands, whose price must be based on her destruction of the out of sorts Sloane Stephens in the previous round.
Madison defeated Bethanie in straight sets on hard in their only previous meeting and the latter is no clay specialist herself. Keys could well hit Mattek-Sands off the court here, but her lack of matches on the dirt is a worry.
Cirstea versus Safarova could be anything given the erratic tendencies of the pair, but I would give the slight edge to the Romanian, therefore the 2.15 on Sorana has to be value in that clash.
Over in Monterrey there are just three singles matches today and of these I like Lauren Davis to continue her recent good form by beating Coco Vandeweghe.
The latter landed odds of around 5.0 to defeat Marion Bartoli in a first round shock, but Bartoli served 19 double faults and had a nightmare on serve generally to slump to that loss and I expect Davis to win the battle of the Americans tonight.
Vandeweghe has had a poor year and has lost seven of her last nine matches against top-100 ranked opponents such as Davis, who has leapt up to number 71 in the world rankings.
It will be the first meeting between the pair, but Davis has played well this season and should be up to this task today.
Back Davis to beat Vandeweghe at 1.50
Back Pegula to beat Jankovic at 3.55
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