The White Group takes centre stage at the 2014 WTA Championships in Singapore on Tuesday, with Petra Kvitova, Aga Radwanska, Maria Sharapova and Caro Wozniacki all in action today.
We began the week in solid style on Monday when Serena Williams was able to take the straight sets win over Ana Ivanovic, while the second match proved to be a good one to avoid.
Williams was decent when it mattered against the Serb and landed her 16th straight win at this event, while Genie Bouchard was poor against Simona Halep in a pretty mediocre affair.
We start at 12:30 UK time again on Tuesday at the originally titled Singapore Indoor Stadium with Sharapova taking on Wozniacki.
Maria Sharapova vs Caroline Wozniacki
The Russian missed this tournament last year after ending her season early with injury, but she was a finalist the last time she played the Championships in 2012 when she lost out to Williams.
And Sharapova and Kvitova are the two best players in terms of form and fitness coming into Singapore, with Sharapova landing the Beijing title and Kvitova successful in Wuhan.
As for Wozniacki, she looked to be struggling rather by the end of the Asian swing with losses to Bouchard and Sam Stosur both in straight sets in both Chinese events.
There was nothing more than the usual sportsperson’s platitudes from Wozniacki in her pre-tournament presser and certainly little for us punters to go on, but her record against top-10 opponents suggests that once again she’ll struggle this week.
The Dane is 3-8 this season against fellow top-10 stars, although she did beat Sharapova at the US Open, which will give her confidence today against the Russian.
Wozniacki was a 3.50 shot when she beat Sharapova in New York and I’d like a similar sort of price before backing her today.
At 2.85 I don’t see much value and similarly, although I expect Sharapova to win, her 1.41 doesn’t appeal either and I prefer the second match.
Petra Kvitova vs Agnieszka Radwanska
Aga’s record against top-10 ranked opposition is scarcely any better than Caro’s in 2014, with a 3-7 mark and none since the start of March when she beat Halep and Jelena Jankovic at Indian Wells.
The Pole actually has a losing 8-9 record against top-20 opponents this season and she has a 3-7 record in this tournament in the years from 2011-2013.
Aga failed to do any better than three 4-6 sets against Kvitova, Williams and Angelique Kerber last season at this event and it’s hard to see anything other than another win for the Czech in what’s been a largely one-sided career series.
Kvitova has won five of their six prior clashes, although Aga did beat the indoor queen in Istanbul as a 2.36 shot in 2012.
Today the Pole is a 3.45 chance, which is the biggest she’s ever been against Kvitova, but it still doesn’t tempt me to side with the out of form Radwanska.
Beaten by Caroline Garcia, Roberta Vinci and Varvara Lepchenko on the Asian swing it’s not looking good for Aga right now and on a surface that does give due reward for attacking tennis her prospects don’t seem great this week.
It’s always a risk siding with the in and out Kvitova to win a match in straight sets, but I can’t see Aga being able to find ways to cause Petra problems on this surface and I feel that if she does drop a set it will be largely down to her own mistakes.
Best Bet: Back Kvitova –1.5 sets to beat Radwanska at 1.88