The round of 16 is the order of the day on Thursday at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston.
My bets on Wednesday produced one winner and one void bet, as Elina Svitolina despatched Sloane Stephens in straight sets, while Kiki Bertens, after leading by a break in set one, retired at the end of it, having lost three games in a row to Sara Errani.
Elsewhere, there was the usual WTA drama when Shuai Peng led Madison Keys 6-1, 5-1 and ended up taking the win in a final set tie breaker and Andrea Petkovic dished out a double bagel to Lourdes Dominguez-Lino, which surprisingly was only the second time the powder puff Spaniard has been beaten that way in her career.
Today’s eight matches generally look to hold plenty of appeal as betting mediums, but I’ve narrowed my choices down to two, starting at 18.00 UK time on Billie Jean King Court.
Eugenie Bouchard 1.53 vs Venus Williams 2.40 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 18.05
The young starlets of the WTA Tour are having their time in the spotlight at the moment and few more so than Bouchard, who seems set to be the tour’s poster girl for a long time to come.
Today, the 20-year-old Canadian has a fine opportunity to ring in the new against the struggling veteran Williams, who has somehow managed to fight her way through to the last-16 despite looking dead on her feet for the most part.
I said yesterday that Venus was one to avoid at 1.24 against Chanelle Scheepers, due to a sickness bug, but the South African was woeful and despite being 5-3 up in the first set and 4-1 in the second she failed to win either.
It was a match low on quality and only an appalling lack of conviction from Scheepers allowed Williams to edge over the line. Surely she won’t be allowed the same luxury today by Bouchard.
Genie, in contrast, was excellent in a comfortable win over Alla Kudryavtseva and spent just the 58 minutes on court in that match. In addition, she has had a day off in between that one and today’s clash with Williams, so she comes into it by far the fresher.
Bouchard will be after a spot of revenge after losing a tight one to Williams on the quick hard courts of Tokyo last autumn and against a sick and fatigued opponent the sprightly Canadian should have too much today.
The minus 2.5 games on Genie at 1.82 looks the bet, as Venus very rarely retires in matches (only once since 2004) and will likely battle until the end regardless of her condition.
Samantha Stosur 2.08 vs Lucie Safarova 1.70 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 00.05
It often isn’t a wise idea to pay much heed to head-to-heads in women’s tennis, but on this occasion the match-up is a very good one for Safarova, whose leftie game tends to nullify Stosur’s big weapon – her kick serve.
The pair are meeting for the 11th time in total today, with Lucie leading 8-2 overall and having won the last five in a row – all in straight sets.
It could be argued that the clay surface will give Stosur’s serve that bit more bounce and kick and most of their meetings have taken place on hard courts, but this clay surface plays more like hard and Stosur’s general lack of belief in this matchup should see the Czech advance.
They did actually play here once before, but it was way back in 2006 – their very first meeting – and Safarova won that too. They haven’t met on clay since, but I’m not sure this counts as a true ‘clay’ meeting.
The worry for Stosur fans and backers here is that Sam has lost seven of the eight tie breaks she’s played against Safarova and if things get tight that will come flooding back into the Aussie’s memory for sure.
Safarova also has a fine record here of 8-3, with a final appearance in 2012, and although Stosur is a former winner here, it was back in 2010 and she didn’t beat a top-20 player during that title run. Lucie has only lost to Serena Williams here since 2006.
The Aussie was far from impressive in a win over an injured (again) Slava Shvedova in round two, while Lucie has had two matches to find her range and came back strongly against Virginie Razzano after a comfortable win over Johanna Larsson.
Elsewhere, I was tempted to go with Sabine Lisicki at a venue she holds a 12-3 record at, but she wasn’t good against Vania King and Petkovic will be buzzing after that drubbing of LDL yesterday. It’s also their first career meeting, so I’ve left that one alone.
Belinda Bencic vs Elina Svitolina should be a interesting clash, but perhaps not one to bet on, while Errani’s opponent today is Peng, who could well be mentally and physically drained after that battle with Keys yesterday.
Back Bouchard –2.5 games to beat Williams at 1.82
Back Safarova to beat Stosur at 1.70