The quarter finals of a somewhat depleted Generali Ladies Linz are in play on Friday and the tournament directors will not be pleased with how this is panning out.
After Ana Ivanovic withdrew following her opening round win, fellow top draw Genie Bouchard did the same yesterday and didn’t take to the court against Tsvetana Pironkova, while Magdalena Rybarikova retired.
Add to the mix losses for Sabine Lisicki and Domi Cibulkova and the tournament is going about as well for the organisers as my attempts to unpick the results.
Jana Cepelova was a total no-show yesterday against Anna-Lena Friedsam and was consequently taken apart by the German in straight sets.
Play starts at around 13:00 UK time on Friday, with only number seven Karolina Pliskova of the seeded players left in the event.
Tsvetana Pironkova vs Karin Knapp
Three of the four quarter finals in Linz look like they could go either way and this first one seems a good opportunity to back the inconsistent Pironkova at odds-against.
Knapp has done well this week and her win over Sabine Lisicki has made her favourite for this one, despite never having beaten the Bulgarian and benefitting from a retirement by Rybarikova yesterday.
Pironkova also had an easy day when Bouchard withdrew stating: “I'm in pain just to walk so I can't play professional tennis.”
That may or may not prove to be a good thing for Pironkova, who has only had one match in Linz this week, but she played well enough in it for her to have a decent chance as underdog here.
Pironkova was also the underdog when this pair met at the US Open six weeks ago and it was the Bulgarian who came out on top in straight sets that day, proving the better player off the ground.
Knapp didn’t serve well that day and her second serve was taken apart by Pironkova, which leads to the view that she was superior in the majority of the rallies.
The Italian didn’t look particularly good against the injured Rybarikova yesterday and she looks a shaky favourite to me, with the 2.20 on Pironkova looking the call.
Conditions here seem to suit another Italian though in Camila Giorgi, who should beat Marina Erakovic if – and it’s a big ‘if’ – she plays up to her best form.
It’s always a gamble with Giorgi though and Erakovic is more than capable in these indoor conditions to take advantage of any lapses from the 1.77 favourite today.
I’ve gone against Friedsam twice this week, so you can guarantee the day that I don’t will be the day that she does actually lose and Stefanie Voegele is another underdog who could easily take the win today.
The Swiss beat the German at the French Open this season, but it was a three setter and this one looks too tight to call.
Pliskova should have few problems overpowering Madison Brengle and the 2-0 or minus 4.5 looks decent on the Czech player there.
Back Pironkova to beat Knapp at 2.20