22nd October 2014

WTA Finals, 09:00 – Williams v Halep

We had 2 unexpected results in the other group yesterday. Let’s hope today is just as entertaining.

Williams was very motivated in her first match against Ivanovic but the Serb player kept it very close.

In their three previous meetings Halep has managed to win just one set against Williams. That was back in 2011  at Wimbledon. In their more recent matches, both in 2013, Halep was handed a bagel in each match.

Halep was a little nervous at the start of her match with Bouchard. That was understandable as both players were playing at their first year end finals. Halep soon got over her jitters which was made easier by the fact that Bouchard didn’t handle the occasion at all well.

Williams starts at 1.22 and even though it is hard to see her losing the market price should be pushed higher by Halep. Ivanovic had a break point in Williams’ first service game and that proved to be the highest point on the Williams graph. Halep has the game to trouble Williams but she somehow needs to avoid another nervous start. her opponent’s nerves on this occasion will not last long.

I will wait for a higher price and hopefully we get a break this time.

 

 

 

WTA Finals – 12:30 – Bouchard v Ivanovic

Bouchard has won both their previous meetings. Their most recent was at the Australian Open in January and it went to 3 sets.

As both players lost their opening match they have to win this one to have any chance of progressing beyond the round robin stage.

Bouchard is the higher ranked player but nerves will play a huge part in this match. Ivanovic has been world number 1 and whilst she didn’t handle the pressure of being at the top of the game too well she has learned from it and has matured as a person and as a player.

Bouchard has shown that she can handle the big matches and already has a slam final appearance as well as semi finals at the Australian and French Opens. Does she feel she belongs among the sport’s elite? Her opening match suggests she is still working that one out plus she wasn’t able to handle the Wimbledon final. That isn’t a criticism. I think the final came too soon in her career. She has the game to compete with the very best and also has the personality and level head to stay at the highest level. She has barely finished her apprenticeship yet.

Ivanovic starts at 1.41 which suggests people expect another nervy performance from the Canadian. In normal tournaments if you have a nervous first match and play poorly you go home. Round Robins give you one more chance and whilst of course Bouchard will be nervous i think we will see her perform more as we expect from her. I don’t think it will be enough against Ivanovic but i expect to see a higher price on Ana and maybe even a 3 set match.

 

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21st October 2014

WTA Finals, 12:30 – Sharapova v Wozniacki

Sharapova leads the head to heads 5-3 but Wozniacki won their only meeting in 2014. That was at the US Open. She won in 3 sets.

Sharapova didn’t play at the year end |Championships  last season but reached the final in 2012 where she lost to Williams.

Wozniacki played at the Sofia Championships in 2012 and also lost in the final.

Sharapova won the title in Beijing and has taken a 2 week break to be fresh for this tournament. Her serve was not as unreliable in Beijing. if she has problems on serve this week she is unlikely to be able to compensate with her ground strokes.

Wozniacki reached the US Open final and backed that up with another final in Tokyo a fortnight later.  There was more success for her the week after as she made the semi finals in Wuhan. Her first round loss to Stosur in Beijing was perhaps slightly due to fatigue. She should also be well rested for this week.

Sharapova starts at 1.44 . In their eight matches they have only had two 3 set matches but I think we will see another one today. Wozniacki has won the first set in 4 of their 6 hard court meetings and that includes 2 of their 3 most recent matches.

I think we will see a much better price on Sharapova and a lay at the start is an option. Alternatively wait for a price above 1.80 before backing Sharapova.

Sharapova to win 2-1. Both are great fighters but her 3 month stats are slightly better.

 

 

 

ATP Valencia Open, 13:00 – Simon v Dolgopolov

Their most recent matches were in 2012. Dolgopolov won them both in straight sets. Simon won in Sidney the year before, also in straight sets.

Simon is currently the player in form.  He reached the final in Shanghai where he lost to Federer and beat Wawrinka and Berdych en route to that final. Last season he had a bye into the second round in Valencia and lost to Falla. Next week the tour goes to Paris and I would think the Frenchman will be looking forward to taking his strong form there. He doesn’t really need the points from a win today and the chance of going to Paris early to prepare and also to see friends and family must be very tempting.

Dolgopolov has not been 100% fit. he has lost his last 3 matches but has competed more in each match. he lost to Mannarino in Stockholm in a third set tie break.

Dolgopolov reached the final in 2012. i think at 1.44 Simon is worth a lay in this situation. He can often start slowly anyway but If Dolgopolov’s fitness is still improving I can see him winning today.

 

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20th October 2014

WTA Finals, 12:30 – S Williams v Ivanovic

Serena leads the head to heads 7-1 and she is 4-1 in 2014.

These Finals could come down to the player who manages their injury the best. All four of today’s players withdrew from their last match with injury.

Williams is unbeaten on indoor hard courts in the last 12 months which doesn’t make Ivanovic’s task any easier.

Williams has won the Finals for the past 2 seasons and is trying to become the first to win them three times in a row since Seles did it in 1992.

An excellent stat from Paul Murphy on Tennis insight is that Williams is 49-4 against the other seven players.

Ivanovic has had her best season for a while but will need to find some real inspiration to get the win. The fact that it is a round robin format rather than straight knockout can mean that player don’t start with the same intensity but these are the types of events and situations that get William’s juices flowing. She wants her name against as many records as possible.

Williams starts at 1.27 but given that 3 of their 4 matches in 2014 went to 3 sets I think we have a good chance of a stronger price on her. Ivanovic won the first set in 2 of the 4 matches. Another 3 setter today would be great!

 

 

 

ATP Basel, 17:30 – Bolelli v Nadal

Nadal starts at 1.34 which tells us a great deal about his physical condition. He has been taking antibiotics which he has had adverse reactions to in the past. He had contracts to appear in this tournament so really has to play regardless of his condition. He has been training since Tuesday but as he said himself training and match play are very different as the adrenalin kicks in. He wasn’t healthy in Shanghai but was still able to keep the match with Lopez close.

Bolleli has won through two qualifying rounds but beating Pouille and Haider Maurer in 3 sets is nothing to write home about.

Bolelli is not at the same level as Lopez and Nadal has said his condition is improved. If Nadal is playing purely because of his contract then Bolleli could get the win. Bolelli has won just one set in their three previous meetings and that was in 2009 when he was ranked 37th as opposed to today’s 77th.

The market will panic if Nadal starts slowly but unless he has decided to tank (which I doubt) he should be able to at least take the opening set without too much trouble. Don’t get carried away with the stakes though until we see how he looks.

 

 

 

ATP Basel, 19:30 – Goffin v Thiem

All three of their previous matches were in 2014 and Goffin won them all and was underdog each time. He won on clay, grass and hard courts.

This time Goffin is 1.43 pre match. Their most recent match was in Thiem’s back yard and on his best surface clay. It went to three sets as did their hard court meeting. I have to go with Goffin for the win but Thiem did reach the 4th round of the US Open so if he can find some inspiration today he can push that price up.

Goffin has a stronger record on indoor hard courts.

 

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