The Portugal Open has 11 WTA matches on the schedule for Tuesday in this joint ATP/WTA clay court event in Oeiras.
It was an unfortunate start to the WTA betting week on Monday, as Monica Puig just wasn’t good enough on the big points against Bojana Jovanovski and fell 6-4 in the deciding set after failing with nine of the 13 break points she created.
There were just three points in it in the end and Jovanovski’s five breaks of the Puig serve from seven opportunities was the difference.
Elsewhere, there were a couple of classically WTA scorelines when Lucie Safarova lost the opening set to Magdalena Rybarikova and didn’t lose another game in a 4-6, 6-0, 6-0 victory and Irina-Camelia Begu did it the other way by dropping the opener 0-6 then winning 6-4, 6-2 against Kiki Bertens in qualifying.
So, it’s business as usual on the WTA Tour and they start at 11.00 UK time, but my best bet today is a 15.00 start and may represent a bit of value on the underdog.
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 1.94, Romina Oprandi 1.82 – BET and WATCH live on Unibet TV from 13.05
In all there were 10 underdog winners from 31 matches in this tournament last year, with five in the first round and this could be one this year, with the injury-prone Oprandi surely fatigued from last week.
The talented Swiss has by and large had her career curtailed by a recurring shoulder problem that has blighted her of late and last week’s run to the final in Marrakech was a welcome boost for Oprandi.
It was her first ever tour level final, but it’s more that it took her 11 sets to get there and then played another three in that championship match that she eventually lost to Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor that will be a factor today.
Never the hardiest of physical specimens Oprandi is sure to be feeling it and today’s opponent, who has beaten her in both prior career meetings, comes here fresh after a month without any competitive tennis.
The Czech had been playing some decent stuff prior to withdrawing from Marrakech citing a left wrist injury, which is obviously a concern, but she should be fit and ready to play today after opting to skip Morocco.
Wins over Roberta Vinci and Monica Niculescu in Miami read well and she should have followed that up by beating Elina Svitolina too, but blew a set and 4-1 lead to the up and coming Ukrainian.
She also had her chances in the match following that on green clay in Charleston when she just lost out to Venus Williams, so her level is right where it needs to be and she’ll be confident in this match-up having beaten Oprandi twice before.
I can’t trust the brittle bodied Oprandi after her run last week and 1.94 looks worth a wager on Zahlavova Strycova today.
Elsewhere, Eugenie Bouchard will have an interesting test against the big-hitting Alisa Kleybanova that the Canadian should overcome in these conditions, while former winner in Portugal Kaia Kanepi will look to blast the defensive Yvonne Meusberger off the court.
Sveta Kuznetsova looks to be coming into form and should get her fourth win over Shuai Zhang, while Torro-Flor has a similar test of her stamina to Oprandi as she has a rough turnaround from winning Marrakech.
The Spaniard played three sets fewer than Oprandi and I would trust her more than the Swiss today, but 1.63 against a very capable opponent like Shuai Peng looks short in the circumstances.
Sam Stosur failed for the umpteenth time at home in Australia in Fed Cup a fortnight ago, losing both singles rubbers, and could be vulnerable first up to Swiss Timea Bacsinszky, who did the opposite in her Fed Cup duty and has qualified here by the skin of her teeth. There’s always a chance of an upset with Stosur around.
Top seed Carla Suarez Navarro quit the Stuttgart semis with a wrist problem and that would put me off the 1.17 about her today – not that I’d be tempted anyway – against Alla Kudryavtseva.
Best Bet: Back Zahlavova Strycova to beat Oprandi at 1.94