We’ve reached the quarter final stage of the second WTA Premier event of the season in Sydney, while there’s last 16 action tonight in Hobart.
Lauren Davis had her chances to land the set handicap against Sara Errani this morning, but failed at 5-5 in the opener and faded badly in set two as the Italian proved too strong in Sydney.
Meanwhile, Aga Radwanska’s shoulder injury and fatigue led to a big priced win for Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Caro Wozniacki was also beaten at odds-on. But she was less surprisingly beaten by Lucie Safarova, who’s enjoying the quick conditions here.
The Czech leftie faces a battle with fellow Czech southpaw Petra Kvitova tonight and the latter has been in great form so far this campaign and is just about backable at around 1.38.
In these quick conditions, I would expect Angelique Kerber to be able to get the better of Carla Suarez Navarro, but so she should at 1.27, while Errani may not have things all her own way against Tsvetana Pironkova, who only seems to wake up when the courts are fast. That could well be an upset opportunity for the Bulgarian.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs Madison Keys (BET and STREAM LIVE on Unibet TV from 08.35 GMT)
This all-American clash could be worth staying up for, with both of these players adopting an attacking approach that will lead to plenty of winners and a few in the back fence.
BMS is coming off the back of a fine win over Radwanska and a prior one over Eugenie Bouchard, but it’s questionable whether she’ll back that up with a victory over young prospect Keys, whose big serve and big hitting should suit these courts very well.
Mattek-Sands hasn’t faced anything like the kind of game that Keys brings to the court and wins over counter punchers like Aga and Genie may not have her well prepared for this test from the out-and-out attack of the 18-year-old.
I’m torn between the overs and the Keys win, with both appealing more than Mattek-Sands, whose match odds look short to me at 1.68 given her sketchy hard court record.
In Hobart short-priced backers will look to Kirsten Flipkens, Elena Vesnina and Sam Stosur to earn them a payout and the first two should win with a bit to spare, but Stosur can’t be backed at a price like 1.25 given her awful record in Australia.
The windy conditions may well frustrate opponent Kiki Mladenovic though, who likes to go for shots and hits a very flat ball, so the weather could well play a big part in deciding who wins that one.
Stosur is nowhere near her best at home and if you’re backing her the 3.80 about her grinding out a painful 2-1 win looks the best bet.
Mona Barthel vs Monica Niculescu (BET and STREAM LIVE on Unibet TV from 03.35 GMT)
This stark clash of styles is likely to go the way of the Romanian, whose junk playing style should suit the windy conditions perfectly, while Barthel’s flat hitting and lack of patience may be her downfall.
Niculescu came up with a surprisingly easy win over Magdalena Rybarikova in the opening round here and she can frustrate the German into errors here too.
Barthel has a great record here of 13-1, with one title and a final, which is surprising given her playing style, but she’ll need to find the lines with regularity to win this, which if it’s gusty, I’m not too convinced she’ll be able to do.
Finally, the stats and current form of Shuai Zhang would make her a decent favourite against Klara Zakopalova, but Garbine Muguruza looks short enough at 1.42 to beat Yanina Wickmayer, who could find her form at any time.
Back Keys to beat Mattek-Sands at 2.14
Back Niculescu to beat Barthel at 1.75
Read more from Unibet columnist Sean Calvert.