The WTA Tour moves swiftly on from the glamour of a major in New York over the border to Canada in Week 37 of the season.
This week’s two International level events are staged in Quebec City and Tashkent in Uzbekistan and I’ll be focusing on the former event, the Challenge Bell.
This tournament is held indoors on a fairly lively carpet surface that we no longer see on the men’s tour and the players have noted already that it’s quicker than the outdoor hard surface utilised during the North American swing.
There are nine first round matches on the schedule today, starting at 4pm UK time on Tuesday.
Eleni Daniilidou vs Barbora Zahlavova Strycova
Not a great match for spelling names correctly, this one, but it might offer an opportunity to side against the Czech, who looks a touch short at around 1.33 against a player with a big game, who should be suited to conditions here.
The vastly experienced Greek player, who turns 31 in nine days time, plays surprisingly few tournaments on indoor hard, but her results have been good on the surface.
Zahlavova Strycova is a former champion here in Quebec, but since landing the title here in 2011 she’s won just two matches in these conditions. The favourite’s form of late has been nothing special and she was beaten in round one of qualifying in New York.
Zahlavova Strycova should be able to win this, but the +1.5 sets on Daniilidou looks the bet here at 1.83 in the first meeting between these two since Indian Wells way back in 2004.
Melanie Oudin vs Kristina Mladenovic
The late night match tonight features a repeat of last year’s quarter-final here, where Oudin will be seeking revenge for a 6-0, 6-1 thrashing at the hands of the tall, French player. But I doubt she’ll get it.
Mladenovic is good indoors, where her powerful game is aided by the conditions and if she’s on her game she’ll have too much for the diminutive American.
Oudin has had a really poor season, with just two wins in completed matches in the main draw at tour level. She doesn’t have a good recent record indoors either and I’m struggling to see why Mladenovic is only a narrow favourite. The answer probably lies in her run of form over the summer, which has been very much below par, but coming back here where she made the semi finals 12 months ago as the number two seed should see an upturn in results.
Kiki played well in defeat to Jamie Hampton in New York and in conditions that will suit her I’m happy to take a price like 1.70 on Mladenovic tonight.
Back Daniilidou +1.5 sets to beat Zahlavova Strycova at 1.83
Back Mladenovic to beat Oudin at 1.70
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