The final of the WTA Tournament of Champions in Sofia is set for Sunday and it’s the last women’s tennis column for me of this 2014 season.
The players – with the exception of the few brave souls soldiering on in Limoges and Taipei next week – head off to their holidays and Garbiñe Muguruza seemed to want hers to start a day early in a poor loss to Andrea Petkovic on Saturday.
Muguruza was errant and easily outplayed by Petkovic in a disappointing display, while those who took a chance on the 2-0 to Flavia Pennetta in the second semi final would have come out on top with a very nice profit with a 2.95 winner.
We start at 15:50 UK time on Sunday with the fifth career meeting between Petkovic and Pennetta.
Flavia Pennetta vs Andrea Petkovic
Fittingly, the WTA season draws to a close with an extremely tough match to call between the world numbers 15 and 17.
Again, the layers had this one more or less even, with Pennetta a narrow favourite at around the 1.72 mark after some overnight support, and once again it’s pretty much a classic WTA pick ‘em.
Pennetta is into her 24th main level final, but only her second since February 2012, with her one appearance in a championship match since that time being her memorable success at Indian Wells in the spring of this year.
The Italian’s record in finals reads 10-13 currently and against top-20 ranked opponents in finals she has a 2-4 mark, with that Indian Wells triumph over Aga Radwanska being her highlight.
Here in Sofia she’s been very effective, but she was beaten comfortably by Muguruza, and there are enough doubts concerning a back problem and a cold to make me prefer the slight underdog here.
The power of Petkovic could be key in these peculiar Sofia conditions and Pennetta’s in and out serve could well come under heavy pressure if her back doesn’t allow her to serve well.
Petkovic seems to be improving the longer this tournament goes on after a woeful start and a tough few weeks for the German, but it could end with a title today.
She is into her 10th tour level final and she has won four of the previous five, with two titles already in 2014 – in Charleston on the green clay and Bad Gastein on red clay.
Neither player has ever won a main level title on indoor hard and with their career head-to-head standing at 2-2 there’s not a huge amount to separate them other than snippets of information about conditioning.
When asked to make her prediction for the final Suarez Navarro said: “I really don't know,” and that about sums it up.
A very tough one to end the season with, but I think that Petko might just be the stronger today and a tentative nod goes to the German, who might be a hint of value here at 2.07.
Back Petkovic to beat Pennetta at 2.07