The opening round of the WTA China Open in Beijing continues on Monday, with Serena Williams and Ana Ivanovic among those in action today.
There are 10 WTA matches scheduled for Monday in this joint ATP/WTA event, with play getting underway at around 05:30 UK time.
Simona Halep ensured it was a frustrating start to the week for me in Beijing when she did enough in the second set to secure a 2-0 win over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova on Sunday.
The Romanian had to improve upon her recent form and did so in decent style in set one before edging over the line in set two to take her place in round two.
Of Monday’s 10 matches I think the best potential value can be found in the 08:30 UK start on the Moon Court.
Jelena Jankovic vs Alizé Cornet
This looks a decent opportunity for Cornet to record her first career win over Jankovic, who has been struggling badly of late with a back injury.
The Serb retired two games short of handing us a win against Coco Vandeweghe in Wuhan and reports at the time suggested that the injury wasn’t one that would get better this quickly.
Reports from the venue tell us that Jankovic has been getting further physio work done during practice and I find it hard to believe that she’s close to 100 percent fit for this one.
The tough conditions in Beijing will make it really uncomfortable for the players anyway and playing through an injury here in rancid air is surely not to be recommended.
Cornet is yet to defeat JJ in three attempts, but all of those priors were more than five years ago and hold little relevance to Monday’s match.
The French player will almost certainly exclaim that she’s dying at some point in this tournament due to the poor air quality, but ignoring her histrionics she has the game to defeat a less than fit JJ here.
Cornet made the final in Guangzhou two weeks ago and quarters in Wuhan last week, where she lost to Eugenie Bouchard, so she’s well used to playing in China at the moment and 2.28 is a reasonable price on her in these circumstances.
Elsewhere, Williams can’t be backed at 1.04 after her retirement against Cornet in Wuhan last week when she was carted off to hospital.
Ivanovic may also have a tough time against young sensation Belinda Bencic, while Lucie Safarova has been suffering with sickness and may be vulnerable to the all-out attack of Camila Giorgi.
Maria Kirilenko has been playing some good tennis of late after her comeback from injury, but I was hoping for a bigger price on the Russian than around 1.52 and it’s a similar story regarding Flavia Pennetta.
The Italian was sick last week reportedly and should put up a better showing against Christina McHale than she did versus Jarmila Gajdosova in Wuhan.
Back Cornet to beat Jankovic at 2.28