There’s quarter final action to look forward to on Thursday in Eastbourne and Rosmalen on the grass as the Wimbledon warm up continues.
After a very good day on Tuesday it was down to earth with a bump on Wednesday, as both of my grass court picks were beaten by opponents vastly less experienced on the surface – and in straight sets to boot.
Dani Hantuchova drifted a significant amount in the betting pre-match and was woeful in a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Lauren Davis, who didn’t really have to do a great deal and I think that will be one for the notebook as far as Hantuchova is concerned.
The Slovak doesn’t seem to be able to hold her level any more and this loss combined with a similar one to 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm last week tell a tale of a formerly very good player in major decline.
The defeat of Kirsten Flipkens was more surprising given Elina Svitolina’s lack of matches on a grass court, but in a strange encounter the Belgian was unable to make her slice effective and Flipper also had the physio out for her suspect knee, which pretty much became the theme of the day.
There were three post-first set retirements in Rosmalen – the most damaging of which for punters was by Simona Halep – and a loss from match points up from Alizé Cornet in Eastbourne, but this is a week before and major and these things happen.
In the quarter finals last year, three of the four favourites won in Rosmalen, while in Eastbourne two big underdogs won and three of the four matches went to deciding sets.
So, as ever in pre-slam week it’s a case of who wants it and who’s here for a little practice.
The obvious candidate is Heather Watson, but she’s up against it with Petra Kvitova and the Brit will do well to come through that one, although the +1.5 sets on Watson looks a decent call at 1.95.
Klara Koukalova vs Yaroslava Shvedova
This isn’t a day to get heavily involved, due to the aforementioned circumstances and the one bet I like today is to take Slava as an underdog against Koukie at around 11:30 UK time in Rosmalen.
I said earlier in the week that Slava had a good chance against Domi Cibulkova and that proved to be correct and she backed that up with a gutsy win over Michaela Krajicek, who was taken back to earth with a bump after her much publicised on-court engagement.
That was a match that Krajicek should have won, but the fickle nature of women’s tennis showed itself again as Michaela commented afterwards that she was “easily irritated, even by people who walked in.”
So, essentially the crowd coming in to watch put her off and this is what we WTA punters have to deal with on a daily basis.
Hopefully Slava will be more professional and if she is she has a great chance of beating Koukie, who’s been struggling with injury and may well not fancy another long, tough match after 13 sets in a week.
Shvedova knows all about injuries, having suffered more than her fair share lately, but when she is fit she has a good game for grass and can trouble even the very best.
This pair have never met in the past – four of today’s match ups are new ones – but Slava for my money is likely to be the more determined here and is by far the fresher after just five sets played since Paris and that could be the vital factor here today.
Elsewhere, Angelique Kerber and Kate Makarova have played eight times, with four wins each and two wins each on grass, which makes that the even money contest that is pretty much is, while I quite like the overs in Camila Giorgi vs Caro Wozniacki.
Giorgi is bound to have a spell where she’s unplayable, but I can’t see her being consistent enough to hit Woz off the court in two sets. Over 21.5 games looks good there.
Lauren Davis and Madison Keys also looks an up and down affair and pretty much everything in that one depends on the unforced error count of Madison, while Garbine Muguruza should have too much for Coco Vandeweghe.
Back Shvedova to beat Koukalova at 2.0