The WTA Tour continues on the red dirt in week 29, as the players head to Bastad for the Swedish Open.
This clay event is played at the Bastad Tennis Stadium, which is situated pretty much right next to the beach, so the wind is often an issue here, with gusts causing problems for the players.
It’s also been very rainy in that part of the world of late and play was delayed substantially yesterday and probably will be again today, with more rain forecast.
Indeed, it’s forecast to rain all day and evening today, so we may not get much play on Monday, but there are four round one clashes on the schedule and there look to be opportunities in several of them.
Irina-Camelia Begu vs Lara Arruabarrena
The attacking game of the Spaniard could pay off here at a nice price against an opponent who was overpowered in similar conditions last time out and who was struggling with injury.
Begu won the $100K event in Contrexeville, France two weeks ago, but that effort on the clay may have damaged her chances in her home event of Bucharest last week, with the Romanian sporting a strapped up left thigh and struggling in the latter stages of her opening match.
Kiki Bertens had too much on her shots for Begu in Romania and Lara also plays an aggressive game, which in these slow, heavy conditions could give her a decent chance today as underdog.
Arruabarrena is a player whose game I’ve always liked and after an unfortunate time of things with illness last year she seems to be coming back to the sort of form that saw her close in on the top-70 last spring.
She certainly has it in her to take a set today and the 1.85 about her doing so seems the sensible bet, with the 3.25 about Lara winning also worthy of consideration.
Nastia Pavlyuchenkova has been on the drift overnight in her clash with Grace Min, which is scheduled for 16:00 UK time today, although there’s little chance of that timing being correct now.
Min played well in Bad Gastein last week, reaching the semi-finals before losing out in three sets to eventual champion Andrea Petkovic, while Pavs hasn’t played since losing in round one of Wimbledon.
The Russian has drifted from 1.55 to 1.69 this morning and perhaps the value on Min has gone.
Rebecca Peterson vs Jana Cepelova
Local wild-card Peterson had a rough draw here 12 months ago, losing to Simona Halep in round one, but I see no reason why the motivated 18-year-old can’t at least cover the handicap against the out of form Cepelova.
The Swede hasn’t fared that well against top-100 opponents before, but she did beat Mona Barthel in Miami and Cepelova has won just one match in all competitions since losing to Petkovic in the Charleston final back in April.
She’s currently on a losing streak of seven and confidence must be really low, which makes the first set to Peterson at 3.75, the over 8.5 games in set one at 1.64 and the +5.5 games at 1.90 all interesting.
Cepelova will probably win this, but it’s not that easy to overcome a bad run against an opponent with little to lose playing at home with the crowd’s support and the 2-1 to the Slovak is also one to consider.
I’m going to take a chance on the set one bet, but there are plenty of options in this one.
Back Arruabarrena +1.5 sets to beat Begu at 1.85
Back Peterson to win set one vs Cepelova at 3.75