The Australian Open is over for another year and whilst it was a very enjoyable and profitable tournament it is so nice to be getting up at a “normal” time (6am) to start work.
We have 2 WTA tournaments this week as well as some Davis Cup action.
There are several qualification round matches to be played today so we have just 8 first round matches to ease us into a new week.
In Paris Zakopalova takes on French girl Garcia. Zak has started the year well with a final in Hobart although she fell to Sam Stosur in the first round in Melbourne.
Garcia has lost her last 8 matches. She started as the underdog in all those matches but it is hard to see how she will be able to find the form the beat Zak today. I’m not sure the French crowd will lift her too much as they have a habit of falling silent when their player is getting hammered.
1.33 is a fair starting price but it is Zakopalova and she can fail to turn up mentally sometimes. She lost in the second round last year having lost the opening set of the week to Medina Garrigues 2-6. The year before she lost to Bartoli in the semi final. I think Zak will take this but that we will see a slightly higher price during the first set. An early break for Garcia would be great.
Pavlyuchenkova starts at 1.34 against Schiavone. Pav played some amazing tennis in the first set against Radwanska in Melbourne but couldn’t maintain it.
Schiavone has been unlucky with her last few draws but she has performed well each time. I think she will make a match of this and if Pavlyuchenkova is a little below par Schiavone could even steal this one. Their last match was won by Pav in 2 tie breaks. The one before that went to 3 sets and Schiavone won the 2 before that although that is taking us to 2010.
In Pattaya Lisicki shouldn’t really have any problem getting past Vekic. She has certainly had enough rest after losing in the first week at the Australian Open.
Shuai Peng is the market favourite against Mayr Achleitner. Peng reached the final in Shenzhen at the start of the month but she has been poor since. She lost in the first round in Hobart to Storm Sanders and in the first round in Melbourne to Nara.
Mayr Achleitner reached the quarter finals in Shenzhen and in the first round in Melbourne she almost beat Madison Keys. She took the first set and had 3 match points in the second set. If her serve is firing and Peng is still below par the Austrian has a great chance in this one.
I will try to lay Peng if she goes an early break ahead or if her price drops to below 1.30 with no break.
Zhang’s form has been erratic in the early tournaments. She hasn’t played Kuznetsova since 2011. The Russian leads the head to heads 2-0.
Kuznetsova hasn’t made a good start to 2014 losing to Svitolina in straight sets at the Australian Open.
We should see a few swings in this one. If Kuznetsova can find any sort of form she should take it but I won’t be backing her below evens.