Serena Williams is in action in the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, while Svetlana Kuznetsova is favourite for the title at the Citi Open in DC.
Those who backed Kate Makarova yesterday were given a disappointing run for their money in DC, but those who went with either the set handicap on Varvara Lepchenko or 2-1 win for Angelique Kerber in Stanford would have been well rewarded.
Both of today’s WTA finals begin at around the same time, with Stanford starting at 22:00 UK time and DC kicking off 15 minutes later, but that may change if the ATP final goes long.
It’s set to be hot with high humidity and a chance of thunderstorms in DC again on Sunday, so there could well be delays there, but it should be fine in Palo Alto, with temperatures in the mid 20s.
Karumi Nara vs Svetlana Kuznetsova – Live on Unibet TV
I can’t imagine that many folks had Nara (and probably not even Kuznetsova) on their shortlists for winning this event given her record coming into this tournament.
Nara had just lost 6-2, 6-2 to Fran Schiavone in Baku and prior to that she suffered an even heavier loss to Roberta Vinci in Turkey and had only been past the second round once since winning Rio on clay back in week eight.
But she’s shown some excellent tenacity this week and again yesterday when beating Marina Erakovic after losing the first set 6-0.
Indeed, that set was the third in a row that Nara had lost to Erakovic by a bagel and she did well to regroup and is into her second career final and second this season after that Rio win.
I said yesterday that the schedulers hadn’t done Kuznetsova many favours with the late start time, but she has played one match fewer than Nara and only spent an hour and 20 minutes on court, so it shouldn’t be too bad.
Kuznetsova was too good yesterday for Makarova and if she plays like that again she’ll surely win this first meeting between the pair, but it’s very hard to trust her.
Sveta has let me down too often to be lumping on her at 1.30 and she will definitely be nervous, having failed to win a title on tour since San Diego way back in 2010.
It’s not the most appealing betting contest of the week and the only wager I would consider here would be the 2-1 win for Kuznetsova at 3.85, as I can see this turning into a nervy affair.
Nara’s counter punching skills should see her keep this close and I’d be surprised if Sveta got this done quickly and with no dramas.
Serena Williams vs Angelique Kerber – Live on Unibet TV
I was pretty accurate with my suggestions on Kerber’s match yesterday and once again Lepchenko got herself into a winning position but was unable to finish it off and the German rose to the challenge very nicely to comeback and win that one.
Williams played her best tennis this week in the second set of her semi-final with Andrea Petkovic and it is likely to be the case that she’ll keep that level tonight with yet another career title in sight.
Serena says she’s feeling good (when does she not say that?) and she certainly seemed to enjoy the latter stages of the Petkovic match, but the big question here surrounds the fitness of Kerber.
The world number eight encountered a problem with her back during the Lepchenko match and it’s a bit of guesswork as to how she will shape up today as a consequence.
I would expect Serena to come out here in conditions that do suit her power game with a real intent to prove that she’s still the one to beat ahead of the US Open and I think she’ll win this with a bit to spare.
We saw earlier in the week with Coco Vandeweghe that Kerber can be blasted off the court by power in these conditions and Coco didn’t have the consistency to keep it up, but Williams surely will.
Serena has comfortably beaten Kerber in all bar one of their prior meetings and with a dodgy back potentially hampering the German it seems likely that this will be quick.
A shade of odds-against on the under 18.5 total games seems a decent bet here with Kerber having broken Williams only once in total in their last three meetings and been broken herself four times in each of those three matches.
She was also broken four times by Lepchenko last night and it’s hard to see her making this close while also less than 100 percent physically.
Back under 18.5 total games in Williams/Kerber at 2.05