The WTA Tour has made the move north from the USA to Canada in week 32, with the Premier 5 Coupe Rogers in Montreal.
Conditions here tend to be on the fast side for an outdoor hard court event and the cast list is a good one, with Serena Williams, Petra Kvitova, Aga Radwanska, Maria Sharapova, Genie Bouchard, Angelique Kerber, Jelena Jankovic and Vika Azarenka all representing the top-10 this week.
Williams’ slow start to her Stanford final last night foiled my unders bet, while, typically, my choice of a 2-1 win at 3.85 for Svetlana Kuznetsova did find the mark in my other featured match yesterday in Washington DC.
Today in Montreal could be hampered a little by rain, with a drizzly day forecast and temperatures in the mid-20s and humidity on the high side.
In action today are a smattering of big names, with the earliest start at 17:00 UK time giving the chance to see two such players face off.
Sara Errani vs Sabine Lisicki – Live on Unibet TV
Sabine should be ashamed of herself if she can’t at the very least make this one close in fast conditions on a hard court against Errani.
Lisicki broke the WTA serving speed record last week in Stanford in similarly quick conditions and if her radar is on she could make light work of Errani here.
Many have tried and most tend to fail in hitting Errani off the court, but surely the feeble serve of the Italian is asking to be broken this week.
Sara, as one would expect, has a pretty mediocre record at this tournament as a whole across both venues of 3-6 and she only once managed two straight wins during this swing of the tour last year.
Confidence won’t be high either after losing her last match on clay to Shelby Rogers and she withdrew from Stanford last week, so this will be her first match since week 28.
Lisicki is usually frustrating, but she is clearly serving well and that match in Stanford last week against Ana Ivanovic can only have helped her to attune to hard courts.
The German definitely has the weapons to win this and she’s been backed this morning in to 1.89 from odds-against, so some of the value has gone, but she should prevail if she keeps her head.
Indeed, there’s been plenty of movement in the WTA odds since last night, with Alison Riske coming in for support, as well as Shelby Rogers and much of the value in those two has gone now.
Another bet I like the look of today is to back Alizé Cornet against Lauren Davis in the 19:00 UK time start.
Cornet hasn’t won a match since beating Williams at Wimbledon, but after losing to Rogers last week in round one in Washington I doubt she’d make the same mistake again.
Davis is a tenacious battler, but on this quick surface she can be outhit and Cornet should be a bit too classy for the American and seems decent enough at around 1.69.
Aleksandra Wozniack vs Sloane Stephens – Live on Unibet TV
As far as outsiders go, there could be value in backing Wozniack at 2.95 over the inconsistent and generally frustrating Stephens.
Wozniack made the last eight the last time this event was played in Montreal and she should have beaten Sloane at Indian Wells to add to her win over the American in Ponte Vedra Beach back in 2010.
Stephens is coming off a capitulation to Christina McHale last time out and recently split from coach Paul Annacone, so there are doubts about her as favourite here.
The 1.73 about Wozniack taking a set looks good here.
Back Lisicki to beat Errani at 1.89
Back Wozniack +1.5 sets to beat Stephens at 1.73