The round of 16 at the BNP Paribas Katowice Open completes in Poland on Thursday, with top seed Aga Radwanska among those in action.
My wagers went one from two yesterday when Camila Giorgi delivered a final set bagel to Roberta Vinci to win the all-Italian clash, while Tsvetana Pironkova’s level was poor in a straight sets loss to Shahar Peer.
Giorgi could have won her match in straight sets, but failed to serve it out, though she made no mistake in the decider to consign Vinci to a drop down the rankings to number 20 on Monday.
Threatening that top-20 place of Vinci’s is Alizé Cornet, who faces world number 146 Kristina Kucova today and could move up to one spot behind Vinci with a good week here at the Spodek Arena.
The Frenchwoman should win with few problems and Alizé is one of three today, who are really just too short in the betting for my interest.
Cornet is a 1.14 shot, while Aga is available at 1.11 against Fran Schiavone, who should pose little threat to the local favourite in these conditions – with or without her snood.
Magda Rybarikova should also face few problems against the clay courter Silvia Soler-Espinosa, who had never won a match at tour level on indoor hard until her victory over Misaki Doi in the first round here.
Doi has now lost eight of her nine matches in 2014 and is clearly struggling right now; the only player she has beaten this year is Cornet’s opponent today Kucova.
The 2-0 to Rybarikova, who is much more comfortable in these conditions, where she sometimes uses the serve and volley and can exhibit the great variety in her game to good effect, looks a decent option here at around 1.7.
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 1.90, Yvonne Meusberger 1.85
This 15.00 UK time clash looks like it will be the most competitive match of a pretty poor card betting-wise on Thursday and I must admit that I’m rather surprised to see the Austrian made favourite here.
The Croatian enjoys a quick surface, where she can employ her flat, aggressive hitting to take the game to her opponents, while Meusberger is much more comfortable grinding it out on clay or slow hard.
Meusberger has never been past the second round at tour level on indoor hard in her career – and she’s been a pro a very long time – and she’s been beaten twice in the last two meetings by today’s opponent.
Indeed, their career series has largely gone the way one would expect, with Lucic-Baroni winning on quick outdoor hard in Doha and Meusberger victorious in Miami, where it’s much slower.
The one anomaly for me is Mirjana’s win over the Austrian on clay in Stuttgart last year, which I would have thought would favour Meusberger, but for me today’s conditions heavily favour the Croat.
Lucic-Baroni played well enough yesterday to get past a physically below par Jovana Jaksic, who was coming off the back of a great run in Monterrey and had her leg strapped up, but those watching could see the kind of style that Mirjana likes to play.
If she hits her spots Lucic-Baroni could win this one comfortably, but she’s not one to rely on to hold a level for long. She won’t want to be drawn into a grind by Meusberger and in these medium to quick conditions I don’t think she will.
Lucic-Baroni looks a good choice as 2.00 underdog today.
Best Bet: Back Lucic-Baroni to beat Meusberger at 2.00