The finals of our two grass court tournaments in week 25 of the WTA Tour are set for Saturday, with a couple of intriguing match-ups in the offing.
I certainly picked the right one to focus on yesterday, as both of my favoured players in the AEGON International in Eastbourne were winners, while both favourites were easily beaten in Rosmalen.
It’s been that kind of week, as it often is ahead of a major, and it took a determined effort from Angelique Kerber to overcome Caroline Wozniacki to land my best bet, while Madison Keys brought her best game to the match court to take down Heather Watson.
It’s been a particular tank-fest at the Topshelf Open, with another two short two setters on Friday, making that just two of the last 14 matches in Rosmalen going to a deciding set – and one of those ended in retirement.
Jie Zheng vs Coco Vandeweghe
Zheng has certainly had some fortune on her way to this first final since winning the Auckland title on a retirement back in 2012, with yet another injury affected opponent offering little opposition on Friday.
Magda Ryabrikova complained of a foot injury, which she rather unhelpfully revealed that she needs “constant treatment” for and the Slovak made it known to all and sundry when the match was effectively over.
Prior to that Zheng faced a clearly tanking Elina Svitolina and before that her opponent Carla Suarez Navarro retired, so other than a good win over Monica Puig there’s not much to go on today.
Vandeweghe is my fancy for this, with the big American having the advantage of her heavy serve and groundies, which did for Klara Koukalova on Friday in an errant display from the Czech, but it’s the service hold stats that make Coco a decent choice here.
Broken just once by Koukie and the same by Garbine Muguruza in the quarter finals she is serving very well and any repeat of that should see her land her first WTA Tour title in her second final.
Angelique Kerber vs Madison Keys
I’m not a great fan of betting on matches involving Keys unless she’s a decent priced underdog, as I find it hard to trust her to hold her best level.
In all of her matches in Eastbourne Keys has managed to keep the level up from start to finish, but she hasn’t really been challenged too much in three very impressive straight sets wins, but will she keep that up in the final?
This will be Madison’s first WTA Tour final and it’s a Premier to boot, so there should be some nerves flying around, but Kerber will remember her last appearance in a final here when she failed on five championship points against Tamira Paszek.
The pair have met twice in the past, with Kerber winning each time in straight sets, but grass seems to really suit Keys and I wouldn’t be too keen on putting much on Angie in this one at 1.51.
The German has a 3-7 record in finals and has lost her two this season in straight sets to Simona Halep and Tsvetana Pironkova, which doesn’t inspire confidence.
She did play at a very good level yesterday though, with some of her best tennis on show and I suspect this one will follow the trend of being tight affairs.
Last year’s final was the only one in the last eight that have been completed in fewer than 23 games and only two of the last 11 have been quicker.
Kerber will be defending for her life here and Keys will need to be on that top level from start to finish to win and that’s a tall order in your first final.
The over 21.5 total games looks the sensible wager in that one at 1.87.
Back Vandeweghe to beat Zheng at 1.90
Back over 21.5 total games in Kerber/Keys at 1.87