The penultimate day of round robin matches takes place in Sofia on Thursday at the WTA Tournament of Champions.
Teenage Ukrainian Elina Svitolina failed to produce the goods yesterday against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in what was a pretty awful match from both players.
In the end I chose the wrong wager of the two, as my other option of Sam Stosur winning in straight sets against Elena Vesnina was successful, with the Aussie enjoying the conditions at the Arena Armeec, where the high bounce aids her game.
Sam Stosur vs Ana Ivanovic
We’ll certainly have a better idea as to how well this surface does aid Stosur after this 3pm UK time clash with Ivanovic, which will be their seventh meeting in all and second this year after Stosur was the victor recently on slow indoor hard in Moscow.
Indeed, Stosur has won their last three meetings going back to 2009 and Ana seems to be over rated by the layers regularly, presumably because of her former, brief status at the top of the game some years ago.
Ana’s only titles since 2010 have come at this tournament when it was staged in Bali, so she has played well at this time of year before. However, she has lost six of her last seven against top-25 ranked opposition and she’s 8-14 in total against such rank in 2013.
The match-up is key with anyone playing Stosur, as she is fairly unique with her kick serve and opponents can either handle it or they can’t. I’ve seen nothing from Ivanovic to make me think she can.
If the conditions favour Stosur’s game – and they appear to here – she looks the pick at 1.72.
Elena Vesnina vs Tsvetana Pironkova
At around 5pm UK time this evening local hope Pironkova must try and overcome her nerves and Vesnina to have any chance of making the last four in her home country.
The pair will be meeting for the first time on tour and although on pure form it’s hard to make a case for Pironkova I’m not sure I like the idea of backing Vesnina at around 1.20 today.
That said, the Russian does have a decent record as favourite in 2013, with 18 wins to just five losses, while Pironkova as an underdog has won just three times from 17 matches when rated as the outsider.
Vesnina should have made her match with Stosur more competitive than it was when holding a good lead in set two there, but she faded really badly and today holds a great chance to get back on track in this event.
The 2-0 Vesnina win looks the best option here at around 1.54.
Simona Halep vs Elina Svitolina
The final match of the day is also a first meeting on tour between Halep and Svitolina and unless the young prospect improves markedly from yesterday’s showing she could get a hiding here from the very much in-form Halep.
There is a chance that Halep may take her foot off the gas, but she has a fair few fans here, which should lessen the chances of that happening.
The Romanian does seem to be taking this tournament seriously, while Svitolina - on yesterday’s evidence - doesn’t appear to be seeing this as a decent opportunity, although lack of match practice will obviously have been an issue there.
It’s hard to see anything other than a Halep win and under 18.5 games seems the call at 1.55.
Back Stosur to beat Ivanovic at 1.72
Follow Sean Calvert’s tennis betting tips every day