You can tell there’s a Grand Slam around the corner, with the retirements and withdrawals are stacking up in week 25 of the 2013 tennis season.
One of my bets on Tuesday was void, as Tamira Paszek retired against Caro Wozniacki in Eastbourne and the set handicap was incomplete, while over in Rosmalen Dani Hantuchova and Magdalena Rybarikova both quit mid-match.
Add to that the withdrawal of Igor Sijsling and the retirement of Benoit Paire, plus the defeat of number one seeds in both tournaments and Tuesday was quite a day of grass court tennis.
It’s certainly been a bad start to the week of WTA betting, as my treble was painfully taken down in its last leg by the defeat of top seed Aga Radwanska in Eastbourne by Jamie Hampton.
Wednesday’s play in Rosmalen and Eastbourne features 13 second round matches and there are some appealing match-ups today, not least Marion Bartoli vs Na Li, Angelique Kerber vs Ekaterina Makarova, Laura Robson vs Caro Wozniacki and Lucie Safarova vs Sam Stosur.
Bartoli takes on Li at 11am and there could be some value in siding with the French player in this one, as a return to the grass seems to have put a spring in her step that has been missing for a long while.
She certainly enjoys conditions in Eastbourne far more than Na as their respective records here clearly indicate, and if Bartoli is able to reproduce her previous grass court form she could take this one at a price of around 2.65.
I also like the chances of Safarova at odds-against in her 11am match with Stosur, who was a surprisingly comfortable winner over last year’s Rosmalen champion Nadezda Petrova on Tuesday.
Neither Lucie nor Sam are great on grass, but Stosur’s game has been nullified by leftie Safarova on a number of occasions, with the Czech winning five of their seven meetings on clay and hard courts.
The layers seem to have overreacted to Stosur’s win over a barely interested Petrova and at 2.70 I’ll side with Lucie in this one. I won’t be betting in the Robson/Wozniacki match, as that one depends as usual on which Robson turns up – the very decent one or the awful one and I would want a bigger price on Laura before getting involved there.
Angelique Kerber defeated Ekaterina Makarova in both of their grass court matches last season in straight sets and the German has a very handy draw now this week in which to defend her points from making the final 12 months ago.
She dealt with the threat of Sorana Cirstea well in round one, while Makarova had a bloodless win over the woeful Olga Puchkova for the loss of just three games.
Makarova has had a strange season. If you take out Melbourne and Madrid where she reached the last eight, she’s won just two matches and lost nine before arriving in Eastbourne. The German should have too much today in their mid-afternoon match and I like her at 1.62 today.
Back Bartoli to beat Li at 2.65
Back Safarova to beat Stosur at 2.70
Back Kerber to beat Makarova at 1.62