Thursday’s WTA preview was pretty much on the money, other than the wager that I finally chose.
I said yesterday that there was value in siding with either or both of Elena Vesnina and Yanina Wickmayer as underdogs, against Na Li and Maria Kirilenko and both of them won.
Unfortunately, the wager that I plumped for was beaten, as Urszula Radwanska was taken down by Kirsten Flipkens. The Belgian’s dodgy knee was compounded by a back problem and yet she still managed to win in straight sets against a disappointing U-Rad.
Over in Rosmalen there was a defeat for grass-loving Tsvetana Pironkova by Carla Suarez-Navarro, who is now playing in her first ever grass semi-final. She will take on Simona Halep, who is on a fine run at the moment after landing the Nurnberg title last week.
This one kicks off at 10am UK time and it may not be as easy as the odds suggest for Halep, who must be feeling it after a long couple of weeks and who has a 2-4 lifetime record against the Spaniard.
That’s followed at 12pm UK time by Flipkens taking on Garbine Muguruza, who has defied a longstanding ankle problem to reach her first semi-final on grass in only her fourth event on the green stuff.
She took down Domi Cibulkova on Thursday and her aggressive style seems to suit the grass, which gives her a puncher’s chance against the more defensive Belgian today.
In Eastbourne, the first match at 11am sees Jamie Hampton take on Caro Wozniacki in a clash of the aggressive American against the more measured approach of the Dane.
This pair are yet to meet on the WTA Tour, but Hampton has had a great run this week, disposing of Aga Radwanska and Lucie Safarova. She has a shot in this one for sure against Caro, who reached the final here back in 2009.
The last of the semi-finals features Wickmayer and Vesnina. They are meeting for the fourth time, with the Russian leading 2-1, but they haven’t played since 2011 and not on grass since Wimbledon 2009, when Vesnina proved an easy winner.
Both are looking to back up big wins yesterday and I fancy the chances of the Belgian at 2.25 in this one.
Wickmayer has availed herself of the services of yet another new coach and since Stefan Wauters has been on board she seems to have picked up from a slump. Beating Kirilenko and Petra Kvitova this week will be a big boost.
It could be a big day for Belgian tennis today with Wickmayer, Flipkens and Xavier Malisse all in the semi-finals. I like Wicky’s game on the grass and as I’ll be in attendance for the Eastbourne matches today, I’ll be having a bet on her to make her first final on grass since Rosmalen in 2009.
Best Bet: Back Wickmayer to beat Vesnina at 2.25
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