The second round of matches at the 2014 WTA China Open are the order of the day on Tuesday at the National Tennis Centre in Beijing.
Among the stars of the tennis world in action today include the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Genie Bouchard and Simona Halep on another packed schedule in this joint ATP/WTA tournament.
Those on Alizé Cornet on Monday against Jelena Jankovic would have enjoyed a nice odds-against winner – once their blood pressure stabilised after a really up and down affair – as the gutsy French player served it out 6-4 in the decider.
We have 13 matches on the schedule for Tuesday and we start at 05:30 UK time on a day where the heat and humidity are forecast to be much more bearable than we’ve seen lately at around 17C and 34 percent humidity.
Elina Svitolina vs Maria Sharapova
This 05:30 start could be a decent test for Sharapova, who isn’t at her best at the moment and wasn’t impressive again in her round one match here against Kaia Kanepi.
Svitolina, on her current form, should be a tougher test than Kanepi and this shouldn’t be straightforward based on everything we’ve seen from the young Ukrainian this season.
The 20-year-old has certainly had a far better hard court summer than Sharapova and she’s shown in recent months that she can go to-to-toe, with the top players and wins over Angelique Kerber and Bouchard prove she can more than hold her own.
Maria may well come through this test, but I like the over 9.5 games in set one here at 2.35 or Svitolina to win the first set at 3.05, rather than a tight-looking 1.26 on the Russian to win the match.
Andrea Petkovic vs Madison Keys
Petko will no doubt be delighted to be facing a player who will give her some rhythm and pace to work with after an almighty struggle against the awkward Monica Niculescu in round one.
The German doesn’t enjoy facing the likes of Niculescu and Magdalena Rybarikova, who utilise all kinds of different paces and spins in their game and she won’t have any of that today with the ultra aggressive Keys across the net.
Like Svitolina and Sharapova this is a first career meeting between Petko and Keys and both had very tough opening round matches to reach this stage.
Keys saved two match points and had to win the last four games to get past Alison Riske, while Petkovic saved three match points against Niculescu.
Petko will get the pace she likes from Keys and I would expect her to come out on top in this one unless Keys has one of those days where everything finds the lines.
Elsewhere in Beijing today there are no prices out at the time of writing, but I quite like the idea of siding in some capacity with Tsvetana Pironkova in her 12:30 UK time clash with Serena Williams.
Williams had to come from 0-5 down to beat Silvia Soler-Espinosa and she hasn’t looked fit and well this Asian swing so far.
Pironkova has taken sets from Williams in the past and she’ll probably be around the 4.0 mark to win one on Tuesday, which could be worth considering, as the Bulgarian is one to keep on your side when she finds her form.
Perhaps the match of the day will be the 08:30 clash between Bouchard and Sabine Lisicki and there won’t be much subtlety in this one, with both players likely to patrol the baseline and hit as hard as they can.
I would expect the more controlled game of Bouchard to come out on top, but she’s short enough at 1.43.
Back over 9.5 games in set one of Svitolina/Sharapova at 2.35
Back Petkovic to beat Keys at 1.74