The majority of players carry some sort of injury throughout the season whether its blisters and muscle strains to stomach upsets and the more serious physical issues that can put them out for anything from a week to several months. Even the minor ones can affect a player’s ability to compete at their normal or expected level.
Towards the end of the season the chances of retirement increase and this fact was on my mind a great deal while I went through Monday’s matches.
Almagro starts as favourite against Becker. You’re never sure what you’re going to get from the Spaniard but Becker is more predictable. He will usually serve well and hard courts suit his game. Unless Almagro can suddenly find his best form I expect Becker to keep close and to take at least a set.
I’ll look for a lower lay on Almagro.
Update: Almagro won 7-6, 7-6.
Bouchard is a little low at 1.55 against Rybarikova but I’d expect her to get the win. She has played a lot more tennis than Rybarikova so I don’t expect her to b quite as sharp as in recent weeks. We could get 3 sets so want a price above 1.80 before backing her.
Ivanovic has never lost to Pennetta. In their 3 matches Pennetta has managed just 1 set but all their sets have finished 6-4.
Ivanovic was disappointing in her last match although Kerber was on top form. Add to that the form that Pennetta has shown recently and you have to think that 1.44 is to low. A fair chance of 3 sets and I’ll be laying Ivanovic a break ahead.
Zhang starts as favourite against Peng and you can understand why as she won the title in Guangzhou and then reaching the final again in the next tournament. However the number of matches she had played caught up with her and she was injured in the third set of that final.
I would be surprised if Zhang is able to compete at the same level we have seen from her in the last couple of weeks and Peng should be able to outlast her.
The last match of the day is Safarova v Kanepi. Head to heads are 5-2 to Safarova but she is another player who has spent a lot of time on court in the last few weeks. Over the last 3 months Safarova’s serve stats are better but in the other important categories Kanepi’s figures are better.
Kanepi played her first match since the US Open in the opening round in China beating Goerges in straight sets. Safarova had another win over Stosur in her first round match but that won’t have helped here energy levels.
I expect 3 sets so will be laying the first set winner a long as both are competing well. I will take out my liability if and when I get profit from a break of serve.