Week 39 of the 2013 WTA Tour sees the first big event of the Asian swing take place, with the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo attracting the big names.
This Premier 5 event with a prize fund of $2.37 million features the likes of Victoria Azarenka, Aga Radwanska, Sara Errani, Petra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki and was won last year by Nadezda Petrova. It’s played on what is usually a fairly quick outdoor hard Deco Turf surface, which suits the bigger hitters and has been described as ‘low bouncing’ in the past.
There are 16 first and second round matches scheduled for Monday in the early hours European time and among the later matches on the card, one stands out to me.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Simona Halep
It’s been a fine year for Halep, who has moved up the rankings from her position just inside the top-50 at the end of 2012 to her current standing within the top-20. It may well come at a bit of a cost though, as the Romanian has played 58 matches already this season, which is more than her total in 2012 and 2011 already, with six weeks of the campaign left.
Halep is not generally strong at this time of the year as her record of two tour level wins in completed matches after the US Open last year and one the year before indicates. She takes on today a big hitter who, on her day, can be a match for anyone and who almost won the title last week in Seoul.
The downside of that for the Russian is the obvious fatigue and it’s a pretty quick turnaround for her, but she is in form and 3.20 seems very big and must be based on the assumption that Pavs will be exhausted. That she may be, but Halep hasn’t lifted a racquet since New York on the tour and it will take her time to get into it, if indeed she has anything left to give this season.
Pavlyuchenkova has played 12 matches fewer than Halep this year and although she may tire at some point here the 1.83 about her taking a set looks big.
Back Pavlyuchenkova +1.5 sets to beat Halep at 1.83
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