22 Oct 2013 – WTA Championships kick off in Instanbul

The best players in the women’s game fight it out in the year end tournament. Three matches today to get us started in the round robin matches.

The first match isn’t until 3pm and I prefer to post matches in the order that they’ll be played.

 

Janowicz put in a couple of good performances last week in his first tournament since the US Open. He beat Garcia Lopez in the first round and took Gulbis to 3 sets.

Carreno Busta has been doing well enough on the Challenger clay courts but I expect him to have problems with Janowicz’ power.

1.33 isn’t a great price but probably a fair one.

Update: A tighter match than expected.

Janowicz won 7-5, 7-6.

 

Sousa won the title in Kuala Lumpur. He has played once since then which was a poor straight sets loss to gambler-hater-Stakhovsky who he had beaten in St Petersburg. That isn’t unusual after a rare title win as a player gets distracted by heightened media interest and their game suffers for a couple of weeks.

Garcia Lopez beat Sousa in the St Petersburg semi finals last month and lost just 2 games.

Garcia Lopez isn’t one of my favourite players but I feel Sousa has another poor week in him and is probably happy with his season.

I’d (as always) prefer a higher entry than the 1.66 on GGL but I think he will take this. He will also have the home crowd behind him.

Update: Garcia Lopez was so poor from the service line. Not a classic match.

Sousa won 6-3, 7-5.

 

I quite like Becker on hard courts. You know for most of the match he will serve well and will fight. Baghdatis is often a disappointment and we saw that again in the Kremlin Cup when he lost in 3 sets to Donskoy.

They have only played once before which was at the Australian Open last year. Baghdatis won in 3 sets which isn’t a surprise as he usually starts the season well.

I think we have to expect a very tight match and another 3 setter looks likely. I have to favour Becker and i’ll be looking for a lower lay price on Baggy in the early games. Baghdatis starts at 1.71 ( and has shortened from 1.84 this morning.

Update: The first set went to a tie break which could have gone either way. Baggy took it and Becker faded completely in set 2.

Baghdatis won 7-6, 6-0.

 

Azarenka and Errani are first up in Istanbul.

Azarenka leads the head to heads 6-1 with Errani’s win coming way back in 2008. In their 5 matches since then Errani has failed to take a set and only once managed more than 3 games in a set.

Unless Azarenka has a real shocker I don’t expect this to be competitive at all.

Update: Azarenka was rusty to say the least. Errani played really well and served 3 times for the opening set. Azarenka took it in a tie break.

In the second set Errani suffered an injury and but she played the match out.

Azarenka won 7-6, 6-2.

 

Serena Williams must be hot favourite to win the title. I am a little surprised to see her at 1.11 against Kerber though. The German has been in excellent recent form.

Williams leads the head to heads 2-1 which includes a straight sets win in Istanbul last year. They have never had a 3 setter. 3 of the 4 sets that Williams has won have seen them separated by a single break.

The courts in Istanbul are slow which probably favours Williams as she is able to generate her own power whereas Kerber prefers to redirect the power provided by her opponents.

Having said that this has to be a lay at that price. It isn’t that uncommon for Serena to start a match looking like she is half asleep and the round robin format takes away some of the edge of a straight knockout format. A Kerber win would be a huge surprise though.

Update: Kerber played well but Williams was very focused.

Williams won 6-3, 6-1/

 

The final match of the day in Istanbul is likely to be the most competitive. Radwanska beat Kvitova last year although Kvitova leads the head to heads 4-1. 4 of their 5 matches have been settled in straight sets but who would bet against a 3 setter with Kvitova’s record of long matches this year?

This match is covered for the SHARK TIPS subscribers but is the one I am looking forward to watching the most.

Update: An early break in each set gave Kvitova the win. A winner for Shark Tips although the side bet of 3 sets failed.

Kvitova won 6-4, 6-4.

 

 

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