The second round of matches completes and the third begins at the National Tennis Centre in Beijing on Wednesday at the 2014 WTA China Open.
It’s a truncated card in China on Wednesday, with just five WTA matches on the schedule in this joint ATP/WTA tournament, but there’s plenty of star quality around, with Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber all in action.
Tuesday’s bets yielded one winner from two wagers, with Andrea Petkovic providing a nice, comfortable straight sets success over Madison Keys, while Sharapova chose Tuesday to play arguably the best match we’ve seen from her since the French Open.
The Russian’s win over Elina Svitolina foiled my second wager and we start at round 05:30 UK time on Wednesday with the Wimbledon champion.
Petra Kvitova vs Shuai Peng
Kvitova is in superb form at the moment and this match-up today against the local favourite is one that she really enjoys.
The Czech player has a 5-0 career series lead over Peng and this is one of those match-ups that it’s fairly clear to see why it’s the case.
Kvitova’s power off both wings makes it very tough for Peng to use her two-handed on both sides style and she has to take the one hand off the racquet far too often against that kind of power.
That results in a weak or short reply that Kvitova is only too happy to put away and the only issue that I can see with a straight sets win here is possible fatigue.
Kvitova won Wuhan last week, but a year ago she won Tokyo and still made it to the semi finals here in Beijing the following week, despite playing three set matches in each round.
There’s also Peng’s sketchy record at this event to consider, with the Chinese star, who will now surely feel more pressure than ever after Li Na’s retirement and her own fine run in New York, often struggling here.
Peng hasn’t made it past the round of 16 here since 2009 and a straight sets loss to another power hitter in Mona Barthel last week in Wuhan won’t have done her confidence much good.
Kvitova was a 1.25 shot when she beat Peng at Wimbledon and I’m not sure she should be bigger today when she’s in similarly fine form and the 1.78 on Kvitova minus 1.5 sets looks the call here.
Elsewhere, Wozniacki’s fitness is a bit of a concern after she had hamstring issues in Wuhan, but it doesn’t make me want to back the out of form Sam Stosur against her particularly.
Stosur’s record in China is 5-9 and her win over a poor Fran Schiavone in round one here was only her second success in this tournament in eight matches.
Alizé Cornet and Sharapova seem too short considering Cornet’s huge effort in round one and Sharapova’s loss to today’s opponent Carla Suarez Navarro recently in Montreal.
Angelique Kerber vs Svetlana Kuznetsova
The 11:00 UK time clash between Kerber and Kuznetsova could be a really competitive affair and I like the idea of backing the over 21.5 total games if you’re having a bet on that one.
The pair have won two each in their career series and both players come into this with confidence having recorded 6-3, 6-1 wins in their first rounds here in Beijing.
Three of their four career clashes have gone the distance and when the Russian is fit, which isn’t that often, sadly, she can be a match for the best, as her record against top-10 players shows.
Sveta has wins over Simona Halep, Genie Bouchard, and Kvitova in 2014 and I see no reason why she can’t make Kerber go to three again here.
Back Kvitova –1.5 sets to beat Peng at 1.78
Back over 21.5 total games in Kerber/Kuznetsova at 1.84