The second round continues at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday, with a number of top-10 stars in action, writes Unibet tennis expert Sean Calvert...
Tuesday’s best bets both went down in amazingly unfortunate fashion when Caroline Wozniacki first battled back from a poor first set in which she lost five straight games to the brink of covering the handicap, before failing on effectively match point.
At 2-6, 6-3, 5-2 the Dane had 30-40 on the Sabine Lisicki serve but couldn’t take the one point required for that one to be a winner. In fairness Caro did well to ride out the Lisicki storm in the early stages, but losing on match point is never pleasant.
It got even more painful after I had gone for the jackpot with my second wager, as my 6.25 shot of Ekaterina Makarova went heavy favourite in-running for set one of her match with Serena Williams and served for the set at 5-4.
She also had set points at 6-4 in the ensuing tie breaker and still managed to come out on the wrong side, meaning both my wagers had lost by a single point each.
At least Wednesday has to bring better fortune and there are a few underdogs who could be worth chancing today, but last year’s second round produced seven straights sets wins in seven completed matches – six of them for the favourite.
The underdogs that look like they could well cause upsets if they have good days include Lucie Safarova, Sorana Cirstea, Venus Williams and Annika Beck and I wouldn’t be surprised if Carla Suarez Navarro had her moments against Petra Kvitova.
Lucie Safarova vs Jelena Jankovic - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 11.05 GMT
The Czech has been playing some very nice tennis over the last few weeks and provided she isn’t too fatigued from her Fed Cup and Doha efforts she may be worth siding with to cause JJ some problems.
Jankovic was in a foul mood yesterday in a struggle of a win over Maryna Zanevska and she will certainly need to improve to get the better of Safarova, who has been timing the ball well of late and looks full of confidence.
The start time (4pm local) should lead to fairly quick conditions, which should aid Safarova’s shot making and she’s coming off a good win over Sloane Stephens too.
Either the 1.55 about Lucie +1.5 sets, the 2.50 about the outright win or the 2-1 Safarova win at 5.0 look ones for the shortlist here.
Sorana Cirstea vs Sara Errani - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 15.05 GMT
At around 3pm UK time (7pm local) the seventh career meeting between Errani and Cirstea will commence and it’s about time that Sorana improved the head-to-head from its current mark of 5-1 in Errani’s favour.
That career series dominance by the Italian means that she’s a warm order at 1.37 for this, but last year’s finalist is by no means a cert to win this against the big hitting Romanian, who took down Sara’s mate Roberta Vinci in round one.
As ever with Cirstea when she’s on song she can beat pretty much anyone and she certainly has the power to hit an Errani in decline off the court, but whether she’s on a good day or not is largely guesswork.
The pair met here a year ago at the same stage of the tournament and Errani won 6-4, 6-4, but Sorana has taken a set in three of their last four meetings and her type of tennis will surely at least have its moments today against the weaponless Italian.
Simona Halep became the latest to blow Errani off the court last week in Doha and Cirstea can do the same – if she comes in with the right attitude and controls her emotions adequately – which has been a big problem for her.
I like either the +4.5 games on Cirstea at 1.68 or the +1.5 sets at 1.70 and the really brave might look to the 2-0 Cirstea at 4.5.
Elsewhere, I’m not sure that the flaky Alize Cornet should be favourite against Kirsten Flipkens, while Williams versus Ana Ivanovic has the look of overs about it to me.
Back Safarova +1.5 sets to beat Jankovic at 1.55
Back Cirstea +4.5 games to beat Errani at 1.68