The quarter finals of the 2014 WTA Portugal Open are all set for Thursday in Oeiras on week 18 of the tour.
Wednesday was one of those days where nothing really went right, as Kaia Kanepi was awful in a straight sets defeat to Irina-Camelia Begu, while I chose the wrong one of the two outsiders that I highlighted.
Yanina Wickmayer was equally as bad as Kanepi, if not worse, in a thumping defeat to Roberta Vinci, while my second outsider Polona Hercog defeated favourite Lucie Safarova to make it all the more annoying.
Today’s four quarter finals look trappy affairs too, with play beginning at the Estádio Nacional do Jamor at 11.00 UK time on Thursday.
Svetlana Kuznetsova 2.35, Eugenie Bouchard 1.57
The new golden girl of the WTA is often priced up a little too short these days and she looks to be again when she takes on Kuznetsova in the opening match today.
The pair are meeting across the net for the first time and with the Russian appearing to be coming into her best form of the season at the moment the 1.57 on Bouchard doesn’t really appeal.
Sveta dealt with the newly found confidence of Marrakech winner Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor yesterday and it will be a different kind of opponent today, with the more measured approach of the Canadian and this looks to me likely to go the distance.
Kuznetsova has had big problems maintaining her best level – certainly in recent years – and she may not keep it up for long enough against a much more consistent type in Bouchard, but I’d be surprised if Genie won this in two.
The over 21.5 games at 1.92 looks the bet here, with Bouchard having yet another choky performance from Slava Shvedova to thank for allowing her a relatively comfortable passage to this stage.
The 20-year-old is yet to make a tour final on clay and while she still has a bit to prove the 1.57 today looks a little on the tight side.
Elena Vesnina would normally be worth siding with against Roberta Vinci, but the Russian often seems to have injury problems and her physical condition after a real battle yesterday would be a major concern for me today.
Vesnina took over three hours and saved match points against Bojana Jovanovski yesterday, while Vinci was done in under an hour, so if anything I’d be on Vinci’s side today in that one and perhaps the minus 2.5 games is worthy of consideration given Elena’s likely condition.
Carla Suarez Navarro dished out a double bagel (we’ve now seen 10 bagel sets this week in the main draws in Oeiras) to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova yesterday and she’s hard to oppose in conditions that she is so effective in.
Hercog can stand and deliver in these sort of slow conditions too, as she showed again by running round her questionable backhand and beating Safarova and she could make life tough for CSN. The Slovenian has beaten the Spaniard before on clay, but not for me today and the 2-0 to Carla looks the one here at 1.70.
The remaining quarter final could be anything, with Begu taking on Timea Bacsinszky for the third time in their careers, with the Swiss leading 2-1 at the moment.
Timea is into her 11th tour level quarter final (6-4 so far), but her first since 2010, while Begu has a very similar record, with a 7-4 mark from her quarter finals.
The way that Bacsinszky has played this week has been the more impressive and I just favour her, but it’s not one I’d want to bet on.
Best Bet: Back over 21.5 games in Kuznetsova/Bouchard at 1.92