Round one completes in Washington DC and Stanford on Tuesday as the Citi Open and Bank of the West Classic continue.
We managed to get one very comfortable winner over the line yesterday in the form of Sachia Vickery, who demolished 1.30 favourite Shuai Zhang in two sets, but there was also disappointment as Madison Keys had one of her off days and lost to Karumi Nara.
The Citi Open in Washington DC has eight first round matches scheduled to complete today, while the Bank of the West Classic has six matches on its card for Tuesday.
The first match that stands out to me in terms of potential betting value today is one of the earlier ones in the American capital – a 19:00 UK time start.
Magdalena Rybarikova vs Ekaterina Makarova
It has to be worth taking a chance on Rybarikova at today’s price given her record at this tournament and prior successes over this opponent.
Rybarikova has won the title in Washington for the last two years and has a perfect 10-0 record here and she’s only dropped three sets in total in those 10 matches at the William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Centre.
The rangy Slovak took down Makarova here 6-2, 6-0 in the semi finals 12 months ago and also defeated the Russian before that on grass in their only other career meeting.
This will be Makarova’s first match since disappointing in the Wimbledon quarter finals and as we saw with Keys yesterday, sometimes it isn’t easy to play your best tennis after such a long break and change of surfaces.
Some players handle it better than others of course, but there are plenty of reasons to side with the underdog tonight.
The problem that makes Magda a 2.75 shot today is her own poor form since making the semi finals on the grass in Rosmalen, where she struggled with a foot problem.
Since the grass swing she’s played Istanbul and Baku on hard courts, but lost first up both times, however conditions were tough in Turkey and the lifeless courts in Azerbaijan won’t have suited her.
Tonight’s conditions clearly will and Rybarikova looks the best of the underdogs today on her return to a venue that is so special for her.
Lauren Davis vs Shuai Peng
Surely the very tight turnaround that Peng has had to deal with will nudge this match in the favour of American Davis in a rematch of their Wimbledon clash from a month ago.
Peng played and won the final in Nanchang on Sunday in China and now on Tuesday she’s on the match court two days later in Washington after at least an 18-hour flight in between.
Surely that is too much to ask and Davis, who hasn’t played since losing to Peng in that All England Club clash, will undoubtedly be fitter.
Indeed, when one takes into account that Peng’s semi final in Nanchang was a nigh on three-and-a-half hour marathon it doesn’t look good for Peng and the 1.86 on Davis –2.5 games or the 1.58 outright look the options.
Peng is not shy of a retirement or two, with 11 on her record already, and it might be safer to go with the outright.
Elsewhere, I like the look of Nastia Pavlyuchenkova to beat Virginie Razzano, but she’s a little short in price, and I’m also tempted by Marina Erakovic as underdog against Kristyna Pliskova.
The Kiwi has teamed up with a new Spanish coach Eduardo Nicolas after a poor run of results and she has a good opportunity today against an opponent who has also been on a bad run since the grass swing.
All of the above matches are in DC and over in Stanford the best prices for me are the underdog status of Garbine Muguruza against Domi Cibulkova and possibly Monica Puig, who takes on Carla Suarez Navarro.
The latter was beaten as a 1.13 shot by Shelby Rogers on clay in Bad Gastein in her last match and hasn’t played since, citing “niggles” as the reason for withdrawing from Bastad.
Ana Ivanovic should have too much for Sabine Lisicki on a hard court, but the Serbian is no cert and looks a little short at 1.30 and the better value seems to be in DC today.
Back Rybarikova to beat Makarova at 2.75
Back Davis to beat Peng at 1.58