The semi-finals are set for Friday in the two WTA Tour events this week in Florianopolis and Acapulco.
And after inadvertently becoming involved in two injury-affected matches on Thursday, I’m hoping for fortune to fall a little more in my favour today.
It was a bad day for Romanian women’s tennis, as all three of their quarter-finalists lost – two of them with injury involved – and after winning the opening three games of her match with Klara Zakopolava the first of them, Alex Dulgheru, ended up losing the next seven, straining her back and pulling out.
In truth, that retirement saved my handicap bet, but the second of the Romanians, Monica Niculescu, also retired, but this time she became injured from a winning position against Carla Suarez Navarro, which was annoying.
Garbine Muguruza 1.33 vs Yaraslava Shvedova 3.20 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 17.35
The first of the Florianopolis semi-finals sees the big-hitting Spaniard face a surprise last four opponent in Slava, who hasn’t made this round at tour level since Barcelona on the clay in 2010.
The Kazakh has had a poor time of it with injury and loss of form in the last couple of years since making the last eight of the French Open in 2012 and pushing Serena Williams at Wimbledon weeks later, so it’s good to see her back playing at a decent level again.
She may well have her work cut out for her today though in what should be the quickest conditions of the day at 14.30 local time against an opponent whose only tactic is to hit big and keep on hitting big.
If it comes off Garbi will surely win this encounter against what will likely be a fatigued Shvedova, who also will play the doubles final this evening after the second semi final.
The 2-0 win for the Venezuelan-born Spaniard looks likely here.
In the other semi-final I’ve been waiting all week for Zakopalova to hit the wall, but she keeps going and I wouldn’t like to back CSN against her at odds-on tonight. That said, she’ll probably fold like a badly erected tent now that I’m not betting against her today.
Over in Acapulco Domi Cibulkova looks highly likely to make another final when she takes on Shuai Zhang at 22.00 UK time. The ‘pocket rocket’ has won all three of their previous meetings and although they were a while ago it’s hard to see Zhang turning that match-up around.
Caroline Garcia 2.60 vs Christina McHale 1.48
Night owls still awake after 02.00 UK time on Saturday may look to McHale at 1.48 to take down Garcia, who from nowhere has finally begun to show a little of why she is so highly rated in France.
Garcia’s recent form has been awful, with 10 straight losses on tour before this week, but she caused a huge upset last night in taking down Eugenie Bouchard and she’s into her first tour level semi-final.
McHale, who is playing her third tour level semi-final, and Garcia have had two previous battles, with one win apiece in tight clashes and I favour McHale here to sneak into her first WTA Tour final.
The American has lost both of her previous semis without winning a set, but in what could be a nervy encounter I would rely on her more than Garcia to overcome the nerves.
The 2-1 McHale win at 3.75 looks worth risking here.
Back Muguruza to beat Shvedova 2-0 at 1.83
Back McHale to beat Garcia 2-1 at 3.75