There’s more second round action from Luxembourg and Russia on the menu for Thursday, as the two events in week 42 of the WTA Tour continue.
Wednesday’s bets were on the money in Luxembourg, as Bojana Jovanovksi made light work of Su Wei-Hsieh in the expected two sets, while Andrea Petkovic and Eugenie Bouchard went over the total games in their up and down three set tussle.
Looking at the conditioning of some of the players left in both tournaments this week it’s a case of last woman standing, with injuries and illnesses in evidence seemingly everywhere you look.
In Moscow, Simona Halep vs Magdalena Rybarikova is a case in point, with both players looking on their last legs and it really is guesswork betting on that match. Halep has already admitted that she sees this as practice for the upcoming Tournament of Champions in Sofia, so you take your chances with the Romanian.
The first match in Moscow features Sam Stosur, who has achieved her primary aim of qualifying for the Tournament of Champions with a first round win over Kaia Kanepi, taking on Alize Cornet, who has just returned from a back injury. Motivation looks questionable on both counts here.
Daniela Hantuchova vs Vesna Dolonc
This looks the only match worthy of interest in Moscow today and it concerns a player born and raised in the city and who enjoys playing here, despite now representing Serbia.
Dolonc took down Domi Cibulkova in the first round and I like her chances as underdog of at least giving Hantuchova a match here in their third career meeting of a series that the Slovakian has had the better of so far.
Dani’s form of late hasn’t been up to much though and her win over the limited Spaniard Arantxa Parra-Santonja in the opening round was her first since the US Open, after a run of three straight first round exits.
She is still just about in the running for a spot at the Tournament of Champions, but she needs to do very well here this week and hope for other results to go her way. It seems to me that Dolonc in her home tournament is likely to be the more motivated.
Hantuchova very rarely does things the easy way and the last time she defeated a top-100 ranked player in straight sets was against Donna Vekic in the Eastbourne final on grass in the early summer. All of which leads me to the 1.62 about Dolonc +1.5 sets on the handicap.
Stefanie Voegele vs Karolina Pliskova
This match in Luxembourg at around 12pm UK time at the CK Sports Center Kockelscheuer should go the way of the more reliable and consistent Swiss, over the hit-and-miss and quite-likely-injured, Pliskova.
Karolina gave us a decent winner the other day with her victory over Lourdes Dominguez Lino, but she was treated by the trainer during that win. Her ball-bashing style shouldn’t work as well against someone like Voegele who can defend and dish it out when she needs to.
Stefanie has been in good form lately and will be buoyed by a tight opening round win over the flaky Mona Barthel in a final set breaker. I like her chances of getting a third win in a row over Pliskova, who has lost 11 of her last 12 matches against top-50 ranked opposition.
The minus 3.5 games on the handicap appeals here on Voegele at 1.85.
Back Dolonc +1.5 sets to beat Hantuchova at 1.62
Back Voegele –3.5 games to beat Pliskova at 1.85
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