The semi-finals of the 2014 WTA Portugal Open are set for Friday at the Estádio Nacional do Jamor in Oeiras.
Thursday was a case of the correct thinking, but wrong wagering, as my idea of Sveta Kuznetsova causing problems for Genie Bouchard was the right one, but the Russian did the job too quickly and efficiently for my overs bet, while Genie was poor.
Bouchard led 4-1, but a little fortuitously, as Sveta wasted a string of break points, but as soon as she found her range Kuznetsova blew the Canadian away, winning 11 of the next 12 games.
Hopefully, I put a few off the 1.57 about Bouchard, which I said was too short, but for her to collapse that badly was disappointing.
Elsewhere, the 2-0 to Carla Suarez Navarro was comfortable, while Elena Vesnina defied expectation by backing up a three-hour plus three setter with another tight win at the death – this time over Roberta Vinci.
Play begins in Portugal at around 10.30 UK time on Friday, with an all-Russian clash.
Elena Vesnina 3.05 vs Svetlana Kuznetsova 1.35 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 10.35
Perhaps surprisingly, this will be only the second career meeting between these two experienced Russians and the obvious fitness advantage lies with Kuznetsova here.
I have to hand it to Vesnina for coming back from 2-5 down in the final set against Roberta Vinci yesterday, but you’d be seething if you’d backed the Italian either for the match or minus 2.5 games, as I suggested, because it really was a choke from Vinci that handed Vesnina the match.
Kuznetsova dominated Bouchard after a slow start that she put down to the difference in pace between Court 1, where she’d played previously, and Centre Court, with Sveta claiming that the latter venue is much slower.
There has been a change in Sveta’s attitude and demeanour on court in the last couple of weeks and I’m assuming it’s down to her being injury-free and enjoying her tennis again.
This is certainly a good opportunity for her to get back to winning titles again – something she hasn’t done since San Diego on hard courts back in 2010 – which is amazing for a player of her talent.
Indeed, Kuznetsova hasn’t won a title on clay since landing the 2009 French Open and her last final on any surface was in Dubai back in 2011 when she lost to Caroline Wozniacki.
Vesnina, if she can somehow summon up the energy, is looking to reach her third tour level final on clay and she’s yet to win one, and it’s hard to see her doing it in these circumstances, with a major just around the corner.
That said, Sveta’s price is as unappealing as her ghastly outfits and she’s been backed in to 1.35 now, which is too short, and the bet here could be to go against the grain a little and side with the over 9.5 games in set one at 2.30.
The assumption is that Vesnina will fade after her tough matches, so the first set market looks the answer and there’s no reason why she can’t make at least the opener a tight affair.
The other semi is blighted by rumours that Carla Suarez Navarro’s wrist injury is getting worse and she drifted in the betting yesterday before beating Hercog, which puts me off her against Irina-Camelia Begu today.
I don’t see any value in backing a 1.20 shot carrying a wrist problem ahead of three big tournaments, so that one is best left alone.
Back over 9.5 games in set one of Vesnina/Kuznetsova at 2.30