ATP Apia International, Sydney, 04:30 – Kukushkin v L Mayer
Kukushkin knocked out Del Potro in 2 tie breaks last night. Wins a set subscribers should have been on it!
He takes on Leo Mayer in the semi finals. They start at evens.
Kukushkin came through the qualification rounds so has already played 6 matches. He hasn’t dropped a set yet.
Mayer had lost his first match in his last 4 tournaments but has had 3 good wins this week to reach the semis. He has served extremely well so far and has averaged over 80% of points won on his first serve. He has been broken just once in 3 matches.
Kukushkin has only been broken 3 times in his main draw matches. There’s a high chance of at least one tie break tonight.
Mayer has a better tie break record for the last 12 months on all surfaces but Kukushkin’s is stronger on hard courts. However based on just this week Mayer has a slight edge based on the number of break points faced.
I am favouring Mayer to get the win. There will be plenty of opportunities for backing both players on serve. Entering at 0-15 is preferable.
WTA Hobart International, 06:30 – Brengle v Nara
They have played twice before but they were in 2010 and 2011. Nara won both in straight sets.
Brengle has improved her game a great deal since then and is ranked inside the top 100. She had to play two matches yesterday. 4 of the 5 sets were very close. That will have an effect on her game today.
Brengle has played 6 matches so far as she had to get through the qualification rounds. If Brengle was as fresh as Nara then I would have her as favourite.
Nara has struggled on serve and in particular her second serve. She starts as slight favourite at 1.83.
If Brengle can find the energy she should start the match better than her opponent but I expect her to run out of steam. I will lay her when she is an early break ahead.
Nara to win in 2 tight sets or more likely three.
WTA Apia International, Sydney, 08:30 – Pliskova v Kvitova
They have only played once which was last September. That was on a hard court and Kvitova won in 3 sets.
In her semi final win over Kerber Pliskova lost just 1 point on her first serve and didn’t face a single break point. She didn’t serve quite as well against Suarez Navarro in the quarter final but she has looked very solid all week.
Kvitova started her season well with a semi final finish in Shenzhen. This week has been quite a typical week for her. She had a close set with both Peng and Pironkova and was taken to 3 sets by Gajdosova in the quarter final.
This one has 3 setter written all over it. More often than not Pliskova starts quickly when she is in form. Kvitova starts at 1.50 and a lay of her below 1.35 in the early games could work well.
I am going with a Kvitova win in 3 sets.