The quarter-finals of the 2014 Swedish Open are set for Friday in Bastad after another weird and wonderful day’s WTA action on Thursday.
My idea of backing Richel Hogenkamp at a big price to get off to a fast start against Kaia Kanepi looked decent when the former broke the latter twice to lead by a break at 2-1 early on.
Sadly for me – and for Hogenkamp – despite the fact that she broke the Estonian once more in the set it was to no avail as Richel was unable to hold her own serve.
Richel described it as “not my best tennis today,” but she wasn’t alone.
Before all of that, the 1.20 favourite Grace Min was thrashed 6-2, 6-4 by Alexandra Panova and not at all surprisingly Julia Goerges was another favourite to fall to keep her inglorious record of failing to make quarter-finals yet worse.
Friday’s last eight clashes are all new match-ups, with no history to go on whatsoever and it’s not exactly the quarter finals that the tournament would have hoped for a week ago.
Jana Cepelova vs Yulia Putintseva
Surely the variety of game that Cepelova brings to the court will be too much for the pugnacious Kazakh, whose charmed life at this tournament should come to an end today.
After somehow winning two three setters in one day Putintseva got lucky when Teliana Pereira retired after four games of their first round match and Dinah Pfizenmaier was scarcely in better condition one round later.
The German played that one with most of her lower body taped up and it became little more than a backhand-to-backhand battle, with little variety or guile, but Cepelova has that in abundance.
Putintseva hasn’t played the Magda Rybarikovas and Fran Schiavones of this world in her career so far, but she has been beaten twice from two matches by Monica Niculescu, which suggests she may not cope well with a break from the ball-bashing norm of most of the WTA.
Sara Errani was also an emphatic 6-1, 6-1 winner over Yulia on the clay of Paris last year, while fellow Italian Roberta Vinci was also a winner over Putintseva, so my feeling is that a little variety can certainly prevail in this match-up.
And Cepelova has plenty of that and now that she’s shaken off the funk of a woeful run of defeats the Slovak will be sniffing a title here, which would be her first at tour level after losing out to Andrea Petkovic on the green clay of Charleston in the spring.
Cepelova should have too much variety and tennis skills for Putintseva and 1.64 seems the best bet of the day on the WTA side.
Chanelle Scheepers and Lara Arruabarrena have both done well for me this week and face each other in the 11:00 start and that is a tough one to call, with slight preference for the underdog here. The overs looks the best wager there though.
Now that Kanepi has finally found her game in the tricky conditions of Bastad she should have too much for Mona Barthel, who has been typically erratic this week.
Today will be Silvia Soler-Espinosa’s sixth career quarter final and after making the championship match in Strasbourg a couple of months ago she’ll fancy her title chances here.
She faces Panova, for whom today will be her first quarter final since Baku in 2012, and I would expect the Spaniard to prove too solid in that 10:00 start.
Back Cepelova to beat Putintseva at 1.64