Heavy rain decimated the schedule on Wednesday at the 2014 WTA China Open, but the forecast is better for Thursday and we should get a full day’s play in Beijing.
Only one of my two featured matches was able to be completed and those on the early price on Petra Kvitova would have been delighted to see the match played under the roof, which gave the Czech even more of an advantage.
Kvitova started slowly against Shuai Peng and wasn’t at her best, but it was still more than good enough to cover the minus 1.5 set handicap against the overmatched Chinese player.
My second wager, which was on the overs in Sveta Kuznetsova vs Angelique Kerber, will now be played at 05:30 UK time on Thursday.
Ana Ivanovic vs Sabine Lisicki
This fourth career meeting is also the fourth time they’ve met this season and it looks a decent chance for the Serb to extend her head-to-head lead over the German to 3-1.
Lisicki was a tad flattered by the score line in her win over Genie Bouchard in the previous round here, due to injury to the Canadian, who was barely competitive in that encounter.
The German is nothing if not inconsistent and after losing the opening set to world number 492 Shilin Xu in round one she beat world number seven Bouchard in straight sets, which sums Sabine up nicely.
Lisicki is trying yet another new coach at the moment, so there may be more tinkering going on with her game, and she’ll need it if she’s to beat Ivanovic on a hard court for the first time.
After winning the title in Tokyo, Ivanovic retired in round one in Wuhan, so she comes here a little fresher than Lisicki, who’s played for five of the last six weeks and Ivanovic’s form has been excellent of late.
Lisicki’s game lacks consistency and relies too much on her big serve, which can go AWOL quite regularly.
I think the 1.72 on Ivanovic winning this one minus 3.5 games is fair enough, with both of Ivanovic’s prior wins over Lisicki this year involving a 6-1 set.
Of the three 05:30 UK time starts, I would expect Kvitova to maybe have a slightly more comfortable time against Venus Williams this time than usual.
All five of their priors have gone the full three sets and two of the last three have gone all the way to final set tie breaks, but Petra is on a roll at the moment and should prevail – maybe even in straight sets this time.
Roberta Vinci has improved her form a little of late, but Kate Makarova should take care of the Italian, while there’s a distinct possibility that Andrea Petkovic could prove the value of the day.
It’s not based on any favourable match-up, but more that Halep was struggling physically in her last match here and after a MTO she had her thigh taped up quite heavily.
Halep has a history of being less than accurate about her condition in interviews though and I wouldn’t put too much credence on what she says, good or bad.
She may well have recovered by the time this match starts, but I wouldn’t be backing her at 1.43 in this one.
The 09:00 UK time clash between Alizé Cornet and Sam Stosur had me very tempted to back the underdog, with Cornet showing some excellent form and fight in this tournament so far.
Stosur beat an out of sorts Caro Wozniacki on Wednesday, but she can’t be trusted to string two or three good matches together, although the Aussie’s good record against Cornet put me off siding with Alizé in the end.
Back Ivanovic –3.5 games to beat Lisicki at 1.72