The final of the 2014 WTA Portugal Open is all set for Saturday in Oeiras and could it be third time lucky for Carla Suarez Navarro?
The Spaniard has made the championship match at the Portugal Open for the third straight time and after failing at the last to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova last year and Kaia Kanepi in 2012 in matches she should have won.
Play starts at around 11.50 UK time between two vastly experienced clay court campaigners.
Carla Suarez Navarro 2,14 vs Svetlana Kuznetsova 1,68 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 11.55
It’s yet to prove profitable backing Carla in a final, as she is still without a tour level title after five losing attempts in championship matches.
The first such defeat was back in 2009 in Marbella, followed by another in the same tournament a year later, before her two Portuguese defeats were split by a loss in Acapulco to Sara Errani.
The fact that she clearly isn’t totally happy with her injured wrist is another negative and the way that her opponent has played for the most part this week means that the Russian has to be favourite here.
I said yesterday that the best we could hope for from Elena Vesnina was a competitive opening set in her semi with Kuznetsova and we almost got that, but one game with three double faults from Elena proved to be the end for that wager. Vesnina was clearly impeded by an arm injury, but she still almost covered the 9.5 total games in that one.
It was a strange performance from Sveta, which switched between very good and pretty awful, especially on serve, which veered from great to terrible and it’s that part of her game that makes her very difficult to bet on with any great confidence.
I touched on Sveta’s lack of titles of late yesterday and this will be her first on the dirt since she won the French Open back in 2009 and first anywhere since San Diego 2010 if she wins, so something’s got to give on Saturday.
Let’s hope for her sake that it’s not Carla’s wrist, but even putting that to one side a peak form Kuznetsova, as that’s more or less what we’re seeing right now, should have too many guns for CSN.
They’ve played each other on four prior occasions and Sveta has won three of them, with the most recent coming on hard courts at the Australian Open in 2013, which the Russian won and I can’t see a reason to go against her today, unless the wind really picks up.
The price of around 1.68 on Sveta looks fair and if she plays the way she has all week her better serve, more variety and extra power should win the day.
Back Kuznetsova to beat Suarez Navarro at 1.68