The third round of the BNP Paribas Open 2014 gets underway on Sunday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on another hot day in the Californian desert.
It was only one winner from three yesterday, as Camila Giorgi battled to a straight sets win over Sorana Cirstea, while Sloane Stephens unexpectedly found her best form for a long time at just the wrong time and Maria Sharapova also performed very well despite a long spell away from the match court.
Play begins one hour earlier on Sunday, as daylight savings time comes into effect on the west coast of the USA and at 18.00 UK time we start with what looks a decent betting opportunity.
Carla Suarez-Navarro 1.94 vs Alizé Cornet 1.82 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 18.05
This looks a good opportunity for the Spaniard to gain quick revenge over her French opponent after losing to Cornet in Dubai a couple of weeks ago.
The hot, dry, slow, high bouncing and windy conditions all suit CSN perfectly after being brought up in the Canary Islands and she began her Indian Wells campaign very nicely by using the elements to her advantage against Kiki Mladenovic.
It wasn’t such convincing stuff from Cornet, who edged past another Spaniard in Silvia Soler-Espinosa and it would be fairly typical of Alizé to make an early exit in her next tournament after a great one for her in Dubai.
CSN did actually defeat Cornet here at Indian Wells back in 2010 and although that match is too long ago to be relevant today I would give Carla much more of a chance here than in Dubai, yet she’s the betting underdog – presumably due to Alizé’s run in that tournament. The 1.94 on CSN looks the wager here.
Eugenie Bouchard 1.67 vs Sara Errani 2.16 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 20.35
I try and take any decent opportunity I can to take Errani on and although she has the kind of slow conditions she so enjoys here at Indian Wells I would give a very good chance to any opponent who can shift her diminutive frame around the court.
Bouchard falls into that category and although I’m not keen on the WTA marketing machine hyping her up at every opportunity largely on the basis of her appearance, she has a favourite's chance against Errani today.
The Italian won their only prior career meeting on the red dirt of Acapulco (when it was still a clay event) a year ago, but that was expected as a 1.1 shot that day and she’ll likely find things a whole lot tougher this time around.
Genie showed she can handle the windy conditions here in a comfortable win over the decent Shuai Peng and a repeat of that level will make for a tough day for Errani, who faced an injured opponent in round one. I’ll be on the 1.67 about the Canadian here.
Annika Beck 4.70 vs Agnieszka Radwanska 1.18 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 21.35
Aga’s form has been less than impressive of late and her weak serve was broken on five occasions in two sets by Heather Watson in the Pole’s opening match here.
We could well see another break-fest here, with Beck’s delivery also being eminently breakable and the style of both players will almost certainly mean that this one will be a real grind.
Annika is a tough competitor, as she showed again in coming from behind to take down Stefanie Voegele in round one here before becoming embroiled in an 18 break WTA classic with Elena Vesnina in round two.
I’m not convinced at all that conditions here in the California desert suit Aga, as it plays a little too much like clay and I can’t see Beck rolling over as easily as the 1.18 about Radwanska suggests
The +5.5 games on Beck on the handicap looks the call in this one at around 2.0.
Elsewhere, Lauren Davis has a good opportunity to back up her career best victory over Vika Azarenka – predicted in this very column – when she faces Varvara Lepchenko at around 9pm tonight, while Simona Halep’s form should sweep her into the next round at the expense of Lucie Safarova.
Back Suarez Navarro to beat Cornet at 1.94
Back Bouchard to beat Errani at 1.67
Back Beck +5.5 games to beat Radwanska at 2.0.