We’ve reached the quarter final stage in our two WTA events this week in Russia and Luxembourg and we’re in good shape after two more winners on Thursday.
Stefanie Voegele made hard work of it against Karolina Pliskova after winning the opening set 6-1, but she regrouped to land the minus 3.5 game handicap before Vesna Dolonc comfortably won her opener over Dani Hantuchova to make the +1.5 set wager a successful one there.
I said on Thursday that the players are looking short on conditioning right now and, as predicted, the match between Simona Halep and Magdalena Rybarikova ended after one set when the latter pulled out with an upper respiratory infection.
Simona Halep vs Alisa Kleybanova (BET and WATCH LIVE on Unibet TV from 12.35 BST)
The motivation factor here is heavily in favour of the Russian, who is into her first tour level quarter final since Estoril in 2011 after coming back from Hodgkins’ Lymphoma and it’s great to see her back playing some fine tennis again and how fitting that it’s in her home town of Moscow.
Kleybanova has the power to hit through the slow courts here at the Olympic Stadium and she’ll be very keen to continue the good form that has seen her defeat Carla Suarez Navarro and Varvara Lepchenko already in this tournament.
Alisa was the 1.17 favourite when these two met for the only time in Melbourne in 2011 and Halep sprang a shock that day, but I’m not convinced that after a very long season for the Romanian that she has a great deal left in the tank.
The Russian is obviously much fitter after just 10 matches this season and Halep will be saving something for the Tournament of Champions, which makes the 1.25 on Halep look very short to me in the circumstances.
Kleybanova winning with a 1.5 set start at 2.00 looks the bet in this one.
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Roberta Vinci (BET and WATCH LIVE on Unibet TV from 11.05 BST)
Sveta is another of the three remaining Russians in the tournament and the St Petersburg resident will be keen to chalk up another win against Vinci, against whom Sveta has won two of their four career meetings.
As ever with Sveta it’s all in the head and although she’s been playing some very good tennis here this week, she thinks too much and gets nervous, which then leads to spells of poor play during her matches.
Kuznetsova has never made the final here and I would put at least some of that down to nerves, as she is one of the most talented players on tour, but consistency has always been her problem.
Today she faces a model of consistency in Vinci, whose reliable game is less likely to break down than that of the Russian. She can get blown off the court by big hitters in the right conditions, but it’s slow here and I don’t see that happening to the Italian today.
Indeed, the last time this pair met was in much faster conditions in Dubai and Vinci was a straight sets winner that day and I really don’t like the 1.67 about Sveta today. Vinci still has targets this season and she won’t be switched off with her thoughts on the beach just yet.
I can see this one going long and the 2.05 about the match going past the 20.5 total games mark looks the wager here.
Back Kleybanova +1.5 sets to beat Halep at 2.00
Back over 20.5 total games in Kuznetsova/Vinci at 2.05