In Auckland Goerges’ return to form was short lived as she was taken out in 3 sets by Ishizu.
Ishizu now takes on Flipkens who is yet to lose a set.
Flipkens has more experience and if she can hold her serve together she will come through this with a win. I won’t be backing her at 1.25 though. If she drops below 1.20 in the first few games that is a lay for me. If she goes a break behind I will move all the green onto her.
Update: Flipkens won 6-4, 7-5.
Americans Davis and Hampton meet in what could be an interesting match up.
Hampton has had quite an easy draw so far although what on Earth she was doing in her first set of the new season against Paszek is a mystery. she came back from that 1-6 set to win the next two sets easily.
Davis played well against Erakovic but was helped by the home player’s inability to perform at her best in front of friends and family. She has to work a lot harder in the last round when Konjuh took the opening set 6-2.
Stats over the last 6 months favour Hampton and she starts as a 1.37 favourite. Against common opponents over the same period she is also much stronger.
Davis can hit her ground strokes very hard and if she can maintain her consistency along with the power she has a chance. if she gets into a position to win I’d expect her to choke and she often plays her best tennis when she is behind.
I am looking for a price of 1.70 at least on Hampton before I back her.
Update: Hampton won 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
In Brisbane Gilles Simon plays his first match of the season against Copil who beat Sugita in the first round in three tie break sets.
They have never played but it would take a brave man to back Simon at 1.37 . Copil has a decent serve and can hit his ground strokes hard. Copil has already won 4 matches as he came through the qualifying rounds beating De Bakker, Ward and Kuznetsov.
I would be amazed if Simon doesn’t trade significantly higher that SP. Favourites aren’t have a great time of it this week so anything could happen.
Update: Copil won 7-5, 6-3.
Back over to Auckland and Venus Williams is taking on Spain’s Muguruza.
Williams hasn’t had things all her own way so far. She was taken to three sets by Meusburger in the last round and needed a tie break to close out the second set against Hlavackova in the first round.
Muguruza made a great start to the new season with a straight sets win over McHale and followed that up with a three sets win over Fichman who had knocked out 4th seed Cirstea in the opening round.
Predicted holds are much higher for Williams.
They played on a hard court almost a year ago. Williams won in 3 close sets (7-5 in the third). That was also on a hard court.
In a few matches last season Williams struggled with her serve. We won’t know until the match starts whether that will be the case today but her serve wasn’t great against Meusburger.
Williams probably doesn’t need to play her best tennis to win this match but a poor performance from the service line could give Muguruza a chance of taking this close again.
Williams starts at 1.37 which, considering her last match, is too low. Muguruza has proved herself to be a very capable adversary on hard courts. The match is Williams’ to win or lose.
Update: Williams won 6-3, 6-3.
Kerber and Jankovic should have a great battle in Brisbane.
Neither player has lost a set. Their only previous meeting was in April 2012 which Kerber won easily on a hard court in Copenhagen. At that time Jankovic was not playing well and she improved greatly last season. Her serve in particular was unrecognisable in comparison to 2012. She was ranked 20th in 2012 but is currently 8th with Kerber at 9th.
Both are quite unpredictable. Kerber starts at around 1.7 and I’d be surprised if we don’t see a swingy match. Their other matches this week haven’t told us much but if Kerber can play close to her best tennis then she will take the match.
Update: Tough, hard fought match. Jankovic won 6-7, 6-3, 6-1.