The ladies of the WTA Tour make the move from Birmingham to Eastbourne and the Netherlands for more grass court tennis on week 25.
We managed to sign off with a winner at the AEGON Classic on Sunday when Ana Ivanovic and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova went past the 8.5 total games mark in the first set of their championship match.
As expected, Ivanovic won pretty comfortably, and concluded her Wimbledon warm-up with a title, but there are plenty of big names in action at the AEGON International in Eastbourne and the Topshelf Open in Rosmalen in the south of the Netherlands.
Rosmalen is traditionally played on quite slow grass and last year’s finalists Simona Halep and Kirsten Flipkens are back again this year, along with Genie Bouchard, Domi Cibulkova and Garbine Muguruza to contest this International level event.
In Eastbourne the likes of Petra Kvitova, Aga Radwanska, Jelena Jankovic and Angelique Kerber plus the returning Vika Azarenka are all in the field for their Premier level event at a very windy venue.
We have 19 matches to look at today across both venues and I like an underdog in Rosmalen.
Marina Erakovic vs Coco Vandeweghe
I’m siding with the Kiwi at a price of around 2.25 in this clash of two players who enjoy this surface, but Coco looks too short for me at 1.63 here.
The big hitting American played pretty well at Edgbaston last week, but she was rather fortunate with the odd rain break helping her out there and I suspect she’ll find the slower conditions at the Topshelf Open less to her liking.
There’s not much subtlety to Coco’s game, with a big serve and thumping groundstrokes and it certainly has a touch of hit and miss about it, while Erakovic is a little more measured in her approach.
The Kiwi has a 74% win ratio on grass in her career and she’s beaten some decent players on a surface she relishes and she’ll be determined to get some match time this week after losing to an inspired lucky loser Timea Babos last week.
She’s too good a grass court player to lose first up twice in a row and I’m happy to take today’s price on Erakovic, with Coco given favouritism probably based on her narrow win over Marina on slow hard in Miami in the spring, which won't be too relevant today.
Elsewhere in Rosmalen Monica Puig should beat the slumping Jie Zheng, while Elina Svitolina and Karumi Nara is a clash between two players without the first clue how to play on grass.
Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor has half a chance against Klara Koukalova if the Czech is still struggling with injury, while Muguruza should get off to a good start against local hope Lesley Kerkhove.
In Eastbourne I’d be tempted with Nastia Pavlyuchenkova against Aga Radwanska, who was beaten first up by Jamie Hampton last year, but the Russian has a back problem and she would need to be in the best shape to beat Aga one would think.
Sam Stosur has a good chance against Caro Wozniacki, but that one is tough to call with Caro having been off the tour for a few weeks, but I would expect Kerber to get the better of grass-loving American Alison Riske – maybe in three sets.
Caroline Garcia hasn’t shown much on grass so far in her career and she was easily beaten by Victoria Duval last week, but Sloane Stephens was taken down by Shuai Zhang, who had no record on grass either and I’d expect better and a win from Stephens today in that one.
Mona Barthel has a great chance against Maria Kirilenko, who’s still struggling with injury problems, but I wouldn’t trust her at 1.47, while Alizé Cornet’s poor record on grass puts me off her as favourite against the hit and miss Serb Bojana Jovanovski.
Back Erakovic to beat Vandeweghe at 2.25