The Premier level Connecticut Open has a touch of star quality about it today, with the Wimbledon champion and the world number two both in action on Tuesday at Yale University.
Petra Kvitova is looking to kick start her hard court campaign after a poor time in Montreal and Cincy, while Simona Halep will be seeking a defence of the title she won here a year ago.
There were a few nuggets of gold in yesterday’s column, with Shuai Peng beating Elina Svitolina and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova taking down Belinda Bencic, while even those on the big price on Timea Bacsinszky would have been able to trade well as she took the opener over Caro Wozniacki.
Unfortunately, Bojana Jovanovksi had a stinker and for most of the first set she was unable to serve properly, coughing up five double faults and failing to win a single point on second serve in the opener against Genie Bouchard.
Poor stuff indeed and it’s a sparse-looking card today, with just the four matches in total scheduled for Tuesday in New Haven where it should be good conditions for tennis, with temperatures in the mid 20s and not a chance of rain.
Our opener at 17:00 UK time is an interesting one, with the aggressive American Alison Riske taking on the often fragile Flavia Pennetta and the former is one of those tough to predict players due to her high risk (sorry!) playing style.
Riske did well here last year and she does enjoy quick conditions, but vitally for Pennetta she served well in her opening match here and that could be key for her both here and in New York.
If you fancy a punt on an outsider today Riske could be decent at 3.10, but you take your chances with her.
The 19:00 UK time match looks one to avoid, with Zahlavova Strycova likely to suffer a physical let down shortly after a lot of tennis and with her injury record I couldn’t trust her at 1.61 against a capable, but erratic opponent in Caroline Garcia.
I wouldn’t take Halep on either in the midnight UK time match with another unpredictable sort in Magda Rybarikova, who makes easing from looking very good to awful appear simple.
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Ekaterina Makarova vs Petra Kvitova
The match of the day could be worth staying up for if you can find a channel/stream that is actually on and working in this tournament, as last year’s finalist takes on the in-form Russian.
Kvitova hasn’t been up to much since landing that Wimbledon title, but she loves it here in New Haven, where she has an 8-2 record and one title from her three prior visits.
The Czech was pretty erratic in Cincy, where she was beaten by Svitolina, and she admitted that she wasn’t even hitting the ball well in practice, but I suspect that a return to Yale will herald an upturn in form for Petra.
Makarova has been playing some very good tennis this summer, making the last eight at Wimbledon and the semis in both Washington DC and Montreal, but she tends to disappoint in big matches and the price on Kvitova looks good today.
The Russian defeated the Czech only a few weeks ago in Montreal and that combined with Kvitova’s lack of form has seen Petra’s price more than double today from that Montreal match.
That might represent a bit of value in this all-leftie battle, with Kate tending to disappoint often against the best in the game.
She has beaten Kvitova three times out of five, but at substantially bigger prices than today and at 1.70 I like Kvitova at a venue she’s comfortable at, with the 2-1 always a good option on her too at a price of 4.0.
Best Bet: Back Kvitova to beat Makarova at 1.70