Friday is quarter-finals day at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin, where the last eight ladies battle for a place in the final four of the Open GDF Suez.
It was another one winner from two bets sort of day in Paris on Thursday, as my wager on Kirsten Flipkens was a comfortable one. The Belgian eased past Yvonne Meusberger with a fair bit to spare, but Karin Knapp was too wasteful against Sara Errani and didn’t make the most of that opportunity.
Elsewhere, I was right in my assertion that Elina Svitolina was generously priced as underdog against Galina Voskoboeva, while Kiki Mladenovic’s jet-lag caught up with her seemingly in a loss to Andrea Petkovic.
Petra Kvitova withdrew from the tournament due to a respiratory problem, allowing Alize Cornet the chance to play lucky loser Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and typically the fragile Frenchwoman made it last three hours before eventually prevailing.
Angelique Kerber 1.32 vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 3.25 – BET and STREAM live on UNibet TV from 13.05
Friday’s play begins at 13.05 UK time with what could well be the match of the day between big-hitting Russian Pavs and Kerber, who is a former champion here in Paris.
The pair have met on four prior occasions, with two match wins apiece and for me unless A-Pavs has one of those rare days when most of her heavy forehands go in I doubt she’ll have the consistency to beat the German, who enjoys conditions here at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin.
All four of those career meetings have come within the last year and the most recent was in Brisbane a few weeks ago when Pavs retired a set and 4-3 behind, but Kerber has clearly targeted this event as winnable and I expect her to come through this one.
Nastia will have her moments undoubtedly, but I can’t see past a Kerber win though the 1.32 is too short for me. The 2-1 Kerber win might be the best option here at around 3.70.
Maria Sharapova 1.13 vs Kirsten Flipkens 5.75 – BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 14.05
Second up will be the fourth career meeting between the driving force behind Sugarpova sweets and the wily Belgian in a career series that’s been dominated to the tune of nine sets to zero by the Russian.
In between her marketing campaign for Sugarpova this week Maria has managed to fit some tennis in and a very good job she made of it too in a simple win over Dani Hantuchova, but Flipkens should provide sterner resistance.
The indoor conditions here in Paris should aid Maria’s shot making though and unless the Flipkens slice is really effective, which it probably won’t be, I would expect Sharapova to tee-off all too regularly and the -5.5 games handicap on the Russian at 1.75 would be my choice in this one.
Andrea Petkovic 1.45 vs Alize Cornet 2.70 – BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 18.05
Petkovic has been playing some very decent tennis this week and has a shot of making her first final on indoor hard on the WTA Tour after the withdrawal of Kvitova.
Today she takes on a fatigued Cornet, who typically made a routine two set win into a three-hour three setter last night and looks her usual mixture of wild emotions and nerves once again this week.
I think it’s worth taking a chance on the minus 3.5 games on the handicap on Petkovic in this one, with Cornet having a tendency for losing by a fair margin when she is defeated in matches.
Her last eight losses in completed matches on the WTA Tour have been by margins of four games or more and another of those today would lead to a nice return at 1.80.
Elina Svitolina 3.00 vs Sara Errani 1.37 – BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 19.05
The last match of the day sees the up and coming Ukrainian Svitolina face Errani in an intriguing clash of youth versus experience.
The 19-year-old has already taken care of Errani’s mate and doubles partner Roberta Vinci here this week and she’ll be looking to inflict a defeat upon Errani here in their first career meeting.
Elina’s comfortable win over Voskoboeva may have owed a little to the unfortunate match scheduling for the Kazakh, who had little time to recover after her second three set nail-biter of the week against Stefanie Voegele and didn’t show much at all.
That said Svitolina is improving at a fair old rate and Errani, despite showing improvement against Knapp, looks short enough at 1.37.
I see no reason why Elina can’t take a set here at around 1.75.
Back Sharapova –5.5 games to beat Flipkens at 1.75
Back Petkovic –3.5 games to beat Cornet at 1.80