The second round of the 2014 WTA Mutua Madrid Open completes on Wednesday, with many of the world’s top-10 in action today.
Serena Williams plays today, as does Aga Radwanska, Simona Halep, Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki on what looks a much more appealing betting line-up than yesterday.
My only fancy on a valueless card on Tuesday was Petra Cetkovska, who, despite scoring more points in the match than Sloane Stephens and seeming the better player, somehow managed to lose it in the decider.
We start at 10.00 UK time, with BT Sport 2’s live coverage starting from then with Simona Halep facing Lara Arruabarrena, but the first match I like today is a 16.00 start on Arantxa Sanchez Vicario Court.
Svetlana Kuznetsova 2.08 Agnieszka Radwanska 1.70
Sveta let me down horrendously at the weekend after blowing a 4-1 double break lead in the final set of the title match in Portugal, but she has an immediate chance for redemption and a place in the last-16 today.
The Russian has a superb 10-3 head-to-head record over the Pole, winning the last six in a row, most recently at the French Open of 2012 when Sveta thrashed Aga 6-1, 6-2 on the slow clay of Paris
As the record clearly shows, it’s a poor match-up for the conservative Pole, whose cagey game can be hit off the court by an aggressive, top class opponent and that’s what Kuznetsova can be when she doesn’t overthink and mentally talk herself out of situations and matches.
The quick conditions here at altitude should play yet further into Sveta’s hands if she can keep control of the ball and her emotions and I’m much happier backing her as underdog rather than favourite, with the 2.25 appealing, as well as the 2-0 at 3.60.
Other favourites I considered taking on today include Sabine Lisicki, Jankovic, and Carla Suarez Navarro and I think the best option is to continue siding against JJ.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 3.33 Jelena Jankovic 1.30
Pavs has the power to give JJ a really tough time in these conditions, which we know Jankovic doesn’t enjoy, as she’s said as much in the past.
Her record here backs that up and she had a really poor performance from Elina Svitolina to thank for allowing her such a safe passage into the second round a couple of days ago.
Pavs is very much hit and miss of course, but if she produces more of the former and less of the latter we could be looking at an upset here.
The Russian does hold a 3-2 career lead over JJ and only once – the most recent clash – has Pavs failed to take a set.
She’s beaten the Serbian in big matches too, with her straight sets win at the US Open in 2011 the most notable and Nastia looks the most likely of the big underdogs to get a result today.
I like the +1.5 sets on Pavs here at 1.90, as a safer option, as she can go AWOL in matches as her radar loses its way.
Suarez Navarro didn’t look too convincing in her opening match here after winning Oeiras last week and her style of play has never led to good results here in Madrid.
Carla has a 3-3 record and today she faces an opponent in Alison Riske, who will take the game to her and in quick conditions the American could well cause the Spaniard problems.
Lisicki was far from impressive in her opener against Karolina Pliskova and the in-form Irina-Camelia Begu could well stun the German here unless she steps it up a notch.
Caroline Wozniacki was impressive in yet another win over Kate Makarova first up here this week and she should have too much for the struggling Roberta Vinci, while Caroline Garcia can continue her good run with a win over injury plagued Maria Kirilenko.
Back Kuznetsova to beat Radwanska at 2.25
Back Pavlyuchenkova +1.5 sets to beat Jankovic at 1.90