There are eight matches on the card at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart on Tuesday as this week’s Premier level event continues.
Hopefully, we’ll have a match to watch today, as my best bet of Monday was void when Caroline Wozniacki withdrew from the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix due to a wrist problem.
It looks a good day’s play in the offing on Tuesday though, with Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jankovic, Sara Errani, and Carla Suarez Navarro among the names in action.
Ajla Tomljanovic 1.57, Alisa Kleybanova 2.35
This match on Court 1 looks a good opportunity for Tomljanovic to make progress in this Premier event.
The conditions here will take a bit of getting used to, with the speed and slippery nature of the surface taking a while to get to grips with and Tomljanovic’s three set battle with Mona Barthel yesterday should give her a decent advantage today.
The 21-year-old Croatian will need to serve better than she did in that match, as she put in 11 double faults and had to save 18 break points against the erratic German, but her consistency won the day and it should do again on Tuesday.
Kleybanova hasn’t been seen on the match court in singles since withdrawing from Miami with a viral illness, but she did have a little knock yesterday in a quick doubles win with Jankovic.
It’ll take more than that to get a grip on singles conditions here and I’m not sure it’ll suit her here in Stuttgart, where she’s making her debut, with quickish, slippery courts likely to expose her suspect movement.
Indeed, today will be the first match she’s played on the tour on clay since 2011, with only a heavy loss to Errani in Fed Cup in 2013 as her experience on red dirt since.
Going further, the Russian’s results on clay were never up to much even prior to her illness, with one semi final in Fes in 2009 her best showing on the tour on clay.
It’s a tall order for her to come in and hit through Tomljanovic, which is what she’ll surely try and do and I like the minus 2.5 games on the Croatian here at 1.80.
Lucie Safarova 3.40, Maria Sharapova 1.30
This a tough turnaround for Safarova after playing Fed Cup for the Czech Republic at the weekend, but it wasn’t exactly a major exertion and the journey was hardly arduous from Ostrava to Stuttgart.
In any case, Safarova will be in great spirits after a 4-0 win for her side over Italy and the last time she played Fed Cup in February she had a much tougher turnaround and still made the third round in Dubai.
So, I’m not too concerned by fatigue here and she’s more than capable of making this 17.30 UK time clash with two-time defending champion Sharapova a close affair.
The pair have met on four prior occasions, with Maria winning three, but the Russian hasn’t won any of them in fewer than today’s total games mark of 20.5 and the overs looks good at 1.75.
Indeed, Lucie came very close to defeating Sharapova in Miami a few weeks ago on slow hard courts and with Maria not having played since that event she doesn’t look the safest bet at 1.30 today.
I would expect Maria to come through this one eventually, but it’s asking a lot for her to win in two comfy sets against a dangerous opponent in her first match for weeks on a tricky surface and I’m happy with the overs in this one.
Back Tomljanovic –2.5 games to beat Kleybanova at 1.80
Back over 20.5 games in Sharapova/Safarova at 1.75