You know it’s not going to be a good week when you get beaten by the likes of Julia Goerges and Mona Barthel both coming into form at the same time and that’s unfortunately been the case in week 21 of the WTA Tour so far.
I said yesterday that Barthel’s match with Annika Beck will boil down to how often Barthel’s big shots can find their range and it was one of those all too rare days where they found the court consistently, rather than the back fence.
When that happens it’s curtains for most opponents – as is also the case with Goerges – and both Germans have enjoyed themselves so far this week at different venues.
Today’s quarter final clashes in the Nurnberger Versicherungscup and the Internationaux de Strasbourg aren’t the most appealing that I’ve written about this season and it will take some bravery to get involved in many of the matches today.
As with the rest of this very tough week for betting I’ll limit myself to just the one selection today and if last year’s results are any guide at all each and every favourite won in the Nurnberg and Strasbourg quarter finals 12 months ago – all of them in straight sets in the latter venue.
Caroline Garcia vs Karin Knapp
This 11.00 UK time clash in Nurnberg looks the likeliest one at the German venue to be an upset after a pretty poor display from flavour of the month Garcia led to her just about edging past Dinah Pfizenmaier yesterday.
Garcia has been in great form over the past few months, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she fancies a few days off between now the French Open, as she looks jaded and another long match won’t appeal to the world number 46.
Caroline has played four tough three setters in her last four matches on the tour and coming into this clash it’s been Knapp who’s played the better tennis and she’ll definitely be the fresher after a poor run of form on the clay this swing until this week.
Knapp suffered first round losses in seven tournaments on the bounce since Doha, where coincidentally she beat Garcia, before arriving in Nurnberg and therefore the Italian is the one who will be far keener for court time ahead of next week.
As I said there she did beat Garcia on a hard court very comfortably in Doha, but that was during Garcia’s own slump when she lost 10 matches in a row before springing back to form, again coincidentally, after that Knapp defeat.
Hailing from South Tyrol on the German borders Knapp will be very comfortable here in Nurnberg and on pure form this week she looks the best underdog today.
She is yet to drop a set here and in perfect, sunny conditions for tennis on Thursday her powerful groundies should zip through the court and make for a tough day for Garcia, who may not fancy it much today with Paris on her mind.
In the 15.00 UK time start between Barthel and Elina Svitolina it seems like a brave call to expect Mona to repeat her form of the last few days as favourite against the talented Ukrainian and even if Barthel wins there’s no value in her today whatsoever, given her erratic nature.
Elsewhere on Thursday lets hope they’ve brought in the reinforced back fences in Strasbourg for the Goerges vs Madison Keys clash, as they’re certain to get a stern workout from some of the bashing from that pair and that really is a coin toss of a match where slight value may be on Goerges.
Fellow German, Andrea Petkovic, looks to have a very good chance of winning that event now, but surely she’ll face a tougher test from Monica Puig today than the last time when Puig got double bageled.
Best Bet: Back Knapp to beat Garcia at 2.25