The opening round of the WTA Mutua Madrid Open continues on Monday after a fine start to the tournament for this column.
After some cruel luck in Oeiras, the tide turned on Sunday when my 3.15 tip Caroline Garcia cruised past an admittedly injury-affected Angelique Kerber, with the German retiring in the second set of a match she was always second best in.
It was another nice display from the in-form Garcia and that came after my opening winner of the day when Lucie Safarova produced a great comeback from 1-6 behind to take down Flavia Pennetta.
Those who followed my suggestions of three sets in Petra Kvitova/Sorana Cirstea and straight sets for Maria Sharapova would also have profited on a great day of WTA betting.
There are 11 matches on the card for Monday at La Caja Mágica, with the likes of Na Li, Simona Halep, Jelena Jankovic, Caroline Wozniacki, and Aga Radwanska all in action today.
And it looks a tempting day for betting, with my fancies including Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Julia Goerges, and Kate Makarova.
Karolina Pliskova 2.25 vs Sabine Lisicki 1.62
On current form 1.62 is a shocking price about Lisicki, who has been utterly dreadful for a while now and she must be desperate for the grass court swing to start.
The German’s confidence looked shot last time out at home in Stuttgart and prior to that she was a 6-1, 6-0 loser to compatriot Andrea Petkovic in Charleston.
She’s won just five matches all season long, retired once and withdrawn twice, so clearly all is not well and it will take all of coach Martina Hingis’s experience to sort this mess out.
Pliskova on the other hand has had a very good season, with a final in Pattaya City and wins over the likes of Sorana Cirstea, Camila Giorgi, Klara Koukalova, and Donna Vekic showing that she is more than a match for some big hitters and she’s more than capable of winning this.
It will be a battle of big serves, heavy forehands and doubtless a lot of peppering of the back fence, and the Czech looks decent value at 2.25 here.
She’s only really lost to quality this season, with three set losses to Domi Cibulkova and Caro Wozniacki of late and other defeats to Na Li, Kerber, Makarova, Dani Hantuchova , Shuai Peng and Kirsten Flipkens and Lisicki will have to improve to add her name to that list.
Pliskova has had two matches here in qualies to get used to the altitude and there isn’t a lot going for Lisicki at odds-on in this one.
Elina Svitolina 4.70 vs Jelena Jankovic 1.18 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 15.35
This 15.35 UK time clash between JJ and Elina looks to be priced far too much in favour of Jankovic, who has never found Madrid a happy hunting ground.
The moody Serb was taken down at altitude by Garcia a few weeks ago and never looked comfortable in Stuttgart either, although she battled hard to make the semi-finals.
JJ hasn’t made it past the last-32 here since 2010 and has never been beyond the quarters and her last match win in Madrid came in 2011 over then 82 ranked Laura Pous Tio.
Svitolina will certainly not be afraid to take Jankovic on here after wins over Sloane Stephens, Sveta Kuznetsova, Roberta Vinci, and Genie Bouchard this season and promising performances in defeat to Aga Radwanska and Ana Ivanovic.
The 19-year-old Ukrainian will want to improve upon her last outing in Marrakech, which was disappointing, and she has a set in her here at least at 2.25.
The +5.5 games is another option at 1.78, with JJ admitting that she finds it difficult to play in Madrid due to the altitude.
I’m also not convinced that Halep is fully fit and Goerges has a set in her if she can leave the back fence alone for long enough, while Makarova has a terrible record against Caroline Wozniacki, but should cause her problems in these conditions.
The Dane has been suffering with a wrist problem and we know how carefully one must tread with those. The head-to-head is an obvious worry, but in fast conditions against a less than fit opponent the Russian has a good shot.
Elsewhere, Radwanska should ease past Bouchard if the Canadian doesn’t show a huge improvement on clay from last week and it will be interesting to see how Carla Suarez Navarro performs today after a title in Oeiras.
Back Pliskova to beat Lisicki at 2.25
Back Svitolina +1.5 sets to beat Jankovic at 2.25