The forecast rain didn’t really arrive in Bastad on Monday, which was just as well as Lara Arruabarrena backers enjoyed a nice winner in the Swedish Open.
The Spanish underdog was always in control of her match with Irina-Camelia Begu and landed the set handicap in the opener before going on to win the match when Begu retired 4-2 down in set two.
I picked the wrong wager out of my selection of several in the Rebecca Peterson/Jana Cepelova match, with the +5.5 or set one overs proving the ones I should have chosen in hindsight, rather than the set one win.
Peterson gave a decent account of herself and led 4-2 in set two before slumping to a 6-4, 6-4 defeat in that one.
Johanna Larsson vs Kaia Kanepi
Talking of home-grown Swedish players that brings me nicely on to Larsson, who has a fabulous record here in Bastad at the Swedish Open.
Larsson has made two finals and a semi-final here in the last three years and has an 11-5 record overall at this tournament, which has to give her a shot against the inconsistent Estonian Kanepi today.
Johanna clearly relishes the challenge of playing at home, which doesn’t seem to the case for Sofia Arvidsson in this tournament, with the latter holding a 5-5 record, and it’s apparent that the blustery conditions don’t harm her game much.
Kanepi on the other hand has never won a match here and is more likely to become frustrated if there’s a lot of wind about, although it must be noted that Kaia is in good form right now.
The tall Estonian made the finals in lower ranked events twice in the last two weeks, with a loss to Begu in Contrexeville followed up by a title in Biarritz, both on the clay.
She probably needed to drop down and regain her confidence after a miserable run on the tour, which must partly have been due to a troublesome Achilles problem.
Against Larsson, Kanepi has won both of their previous matches, including two weeks ago in the semis of Contrexeville, but home advantage counts for a lot in Bastad as far as Larsson is concerned and the 1.70 on +1.5 sets or the 2.80 outright are the picks here.
Of the early 10:00 starts Polona Hercog has an amazing record here of 10-0 and 20-4 in sets in Bastad, where she landed the title in 2011 and 2012.
She’s a little short today though at 1.25 against Dinah Pfizenmaier and I’m torn between three choices for my second bet today.
Laura Siegemund has never won a match against a top-100 opponent and faces an in-form Yaroslava Shvedova today, but the latter is playing her first match since Wimbledon after withdrawing last week from Bucharest and switch from grass to clay is not easy – especially in these conditions where Slava has never played.
Richel Hogenkamp is in good form and is defending quarter final points from last year here, so she has a shot against Karolina Anna Schmiedlova, but the Dutch player is too short and I just prefer the 13:30 UK time match on Court 3.
Yulia Putintseva vs Teliana Pereira
I’m not sure I care much for the dreadful on-court antics of Putintseva and she should be sent back to the ITF circuit by Pereira today, with any luck.
Putintseva has had to play a lot of matches in a short space of time here due to the rain and Pereira comes here fresh from a good run to the final in Biarritz last week, where she lost to Kanepi in the final.
The pugnacious Kazakh played two three setters in heavy conditions yesterday and surely Pereira, who won the only prior match between her and Putintseva earlier this season, has things in her favour today.
Back Larsson +1.5 sets to beat Kanepi at 1.70
Back Pereira to beat Putintseva at 1.73