The quarter-finals of the Family Circle Cup 2014 are all set for play in Charleston, USA on Friday.
And it’s probably not quite the line-up that the tournament directors would have wished for, with both Williams sisters out before the last eight stage and not an American player in sight.
One of those aforementioned Williams sisters put paid to my opening wager yesterday when although Eugenie Bouchard won as predicted, she didn’t do it by enough games to cover the handicap after a tight battle with Venus that could have gone either way.
My second bet was a winner though, as Lucie Safarova took down Sam Stosur again to take her place in the quarter-finals, which begin at around 18.00 UK time on Friday.
Lucie Safarova 1.96 vs Andrea Petkovic 1.80 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 19.05
I was very glad that I chose not to back Sabine Lisicki yesterday, as the Wimbledon finalist had a nightmare against Petkovic, with Lisicki failing to hold serve all match and being broken six times in a 6-1, 6-0 drubbing.
I said yesterday that Lisicki’s poor level against Vania King was off-putting and she was even worse on Thursday. For one of the biggest servers on tour to be broken that amount of times on a fairly lively surface suggests something is amiss with Sabine right now.
But it’s all good for Petkovic, who has never been beaten here at the Family Circle Cup and now holds a 5-0 record (she withdrew during last year’s tournament), winning her last two matches here for the loss of just one game.
The German will find things much more difficult today against Safarova though, who came from a set and a break down to improve her career record over Stosur with some fine serving and a repeat of that sort of level would give her a great chance today.
Lucie has an excellent 11-3 record here and I would expect her to push the German very close in what has all the makings of a lengthy encounter.
The pair have always met on hard courts in their five-match career series that Petko leads 3-2, but the last three have involved four tie breaks and although I like Lucie as slight underdog the overs appeals at 1.83 for more than 21.5 total games.
Jana Cepelova 1.90 vs Daniela Hantuchova 1.85 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 00.05
I try not to get involved in Hantuchova matches unless there’s a very good opportunity to back the in and out Slovak at a decent price and tonight’s midnight UK time clash with a fatigued and physically below par Cepelova looks one such chance.
Cepelova’s cagey playing style should have been exposed on this lively surface by Elena Vesnina, who had numerous chances to have beaten Jana 2-0 yesterday, but the Russian failed to serve out the opening set twice, despite holding 6-5, 40-0 at one point and was eventually ground down in three.
Both Vesnina and Cepelova had all manner of strapping holding them up yesterday and the trainer had her work cut out attending to the fragile duo in a gruelling two-and-three-quarter hour marathon.
Dani, by contrast, has enjoyed a pretty handy draw here and again was able to get on and off court quickly in her third consecutive straight sets win this week yesterday.
Hantuchova struggles against players with the power to move her around the court and I’m not convinced that Cepelova is that type and allied with her questionable physical state the latter looks like she should be a bigger price than the 1.95 she is today.
This will be the first career meet between the two Slovak Fed Cup teammates and the value all seems to be with the senior of the two in Hantuchova at 1.85.
Back over 21.5 games in Safarova/Petkovic at 1.83
Back Hantuchova to beat Cepelova at 1.85