Day two of the WTA Tournament of Champions sees Kate Makarova and Garbiñe Muguruza play their opening round robin matches at the Arena Armeec Sofia.
The event didn’t exactly get off to the best of starts for Alizé Cornet and consequently myself yesterday when the French player had a shocker and was soundly beaten by an in-form Flavia Pennetta.
Cornet threw in half a dozen double faults in set one alone and managed to cut her little pinky finger as well on a miserable day for Cornet and her backers that had me wishing I’d opted for my lean of Domi Cibulkova instead.
The Slovak consigned Tsvetana Pironkova to another Sofia loss, while a still out of sorts Andrea Petkovic was beaten comfortably by Carla Suarez Navarro.
We start at 15:45 UK time with Petkovic taking on Pironkova and this looks one to avoid.
Petkovic looks flat and disinterested at the moment and offered little in a 0-6, 4-6 loss to CSN, but Pironkova’s record here is so bad that she can’t be backed with any confidence either.
The local favourite was 4-1 up in set two and served for it against Cibulkova, but failed and she must have a mental block about playing here now after so many defeats.
Ekaterina Makarova vs Garbiñe Muguruza
This match will in all probability be the clash of the day in Sofia, with the highest ranked player in the tournament taking on one of the young stars of the women’s game.
Muguruza has been practicing here in her coach’s clothes after her luggage was mislaid, but happily she has it back now and is ready to play her fourth career clash with Makarova after three tight ones in the last year or so against the Russian.
All three priors have been at big tournaments and all ended 6-4 in the decider, with Makarova winning the last two, so the overs looks an obvious choice here at 1.92 for over 21.5 total games.
But at this stage of the season it’s worth taking a few risks with the bigger prices in what should be a keenly contested encounter and the 2-1 set betting option looks the best here.
Makarova’s form has tailed off a little after a good summer in which she made the quarters at Wimbledon and semis at the US Open plus the last four in Canada.
Her last two appearances were disappointing losses to Roberta Vinci and Irina Camelia Begu and she may feel a bit of pressure here as top seed.
It should be a tight, entertaining clash and the 2-1 to Muguruza looks the best bet for me at a tasty 4.70.
The final match of the day should really go the way of Suarez Navarro on current form, but I’m not sure I can back a player at 1.56 who lost her only match to today’s opponent 1-6, 0-6 in their only career meeting.
That was back in the halcyon days of Melbourne this year for Cibulkova, but those days must seem a way away for her now after injury and loss of form hampered her season.
CSN for me in that one, but not at that price.
Best Bet: Back Muguruza to beat Makarova 2-1 at 4.70