An excellent day for the Shark Tips service with all 3 selections winning. Townsend, (2.20) and Svitolina (1.80) and whilst Keys also won she didn’t reach our entry price of 2.00. 1.99 was matched!
The rain delays were a pain last night. Let’s hope we don’t see a repeat today.
WTA Cincinnati, 16:00 – Gibbs v McHale
Gibbs has come through two qualifying rounds to reach the main draw. She beat Shvedova and Schiavone which looks impressive. Checking the stats it looks as though Schiavone had a nightmare from the service line with a first serve percentage of just 43% and 10 double faults. However the figures from the Shvedova match suggest that Gibbs served extremely well with a first serve percentage of 59% and she won 80 of points on the first serve.
Gibbs has been in the final of two ITF events before travelling to Cincinnati taking the title on Carson and losing to Brengle in Lexington.
McHale did reasonably well in the first half of the season reaching the final in Acapulco, the third round in Rome and the semi final in Strasbourg in May. Since then however she hasn’t managed back to back wins at any tournament. Of her 17 losses this season she was the pre match favourite in 13 of them.
McHale starts at 1.75 and is likely to trade higher. That isn’t a great price to lay at though and I will wait to lay her below 1.40 for a trade. Gibbs has plenty of wins under her belt and whilst a lot of them were against lower ranked opposition she is serving well and could take advantage of a nervy McHale.
WTA Cincinnati, 18:00 – Azarenka v Zahlavova Strycova
Defending champion Azarenka isn’t in the best shape to hang onto the title.her first match is against Zahlavova Strycova who for me has been one of the surprises of 2014. Where she has found her form from I have no idea. Even if Azarenka wins this match she meets Petkovic or Stephens, then probably Jankovic and Serena after that. She won’t be winning it this year.
Azarenka’s knee injury prevented her from being competitive against Radwanska last week. she has played very little tennis this season.
Zahlavova Strycova also fell to Radwanska last week although she put up more of a fight. Whether or not she can win today obviously depends on Azarenka’s fitness but with Azarenka starting at 1.35 that has to be a lay for me.
WTA Cincinnati, 22:00 – Petkovic v Stephens
They haven’t played this season but met twice in 2013. Stephens won both of them in 3 sets. Petkovic was on her way back from injury then and has since leap-frogged Stephens in the rankings.
Coming into this match it is Petkovic with the better recent form. She had to withdraw from the Rogers Cup due to illness but before that she reached the semi final in Stanford and won the title on clay in Gastein.
Stephens reached the 4th round at the French Open and the quarter finals in Eastbourne but since then has failed to get beyond the second match of her last four events.
Petkovic starts at 1.60 . We have the slight doubts created by her illness last week so I will be waiting before entering. I can see this being a messy match with quite a few breaks of serve. Backing Petkovic when she is a break behind seems a decent option as i expect her to come through for the win assuming she is over her illness.
ATP Cincinnati, midnight – Johnson v Paire
Paire’s knee seems to be holding up OK and he has been competitive during the last 2 tournaments. He lost in the second round in Washington in 3 tie break sets to Karlovic and last week having fought through the qualifying rounds in Toronto he lost to Wawrinka in a third set tie break in round two. he has had no problems at all in the qualifying matches this week beating Zverev and Rola very easily.
Johnson gets a wild card this week. He reached the quarter finals in Washington a couple of weeks ago with wins over Isner and Karlovic. He has had a respectable season so far although most of his success has been on the Challenger tour.
Johnson has a strong serve and his return game is better than many of his fellow serve bots but I have to go with Paire for this one. His own serve has been solid recently and despite being French he is the more talented player. Three sets are a real possibility.