Ok the dog’s had a lung busting run and has flaked out on the rug. I’ll be ready for Rio at this rate.
Wickmayer can produce some great hitting and her serve can win a lot of cheap points for her. She just hasn’t figured out how to do it consistently. I think for players like her the off season can do her a lot of good. Lots of time on the practice courts with none of the pressure of playing and losing matches. The benefits won’t last long but she should have a great chance against Kristyna Pliskova.
Pliskova has a big serve of her own and she will need that to be firing to keep her in this one.
Wickmayer starts at 1.65 which isn’t an awful price as long as she is still holding onto her off season form but I would prefer to be entering above 1.80 as I think this could be a close match.
Update: Wickmayer started the match well but it lasted 2 games. She broke serve but was immediately broken back. The set went to a tie break which Pliskova won easily. Wickmayer didn’t win a game in set 2.
Pliskova won 7-6, 6-0.
Kontaveit looked quite impressive in the qualifying rounds. She beat Ishizu on a hard court in October. It was an easy 6-2, 6-2 victory. Her SP of 1.37 isn’t too attractive although it isn’t a million miles away from being a fair price. I will keep an eye on this one and if she goes an early break behind I will back her.
Cirstea is perhaps one of the most unpredictable players around which is saying a lot. I think in a similar way to Wickmayer she will start well this week before the demons kick in. She has had problems with Fichman in the past. Their most recent meeting was at this year’s US Open. Cirstea won in 3 sets. Their only other match was back in 2010 on clay and Fichman won in straight sets.
Back Cirstea if she goes an early break behind.
Safarova had an excellent 2013. She has played Morita just once before which was on clay in 2012. Safarova won easily in straight sets.
Safarova played Brisbane at the start of the last two seasons and neither campaign started well with first round losses each time. Having said that her opponents were stronger than Morita.
Morita is very consistent but unless Safarova has a real shocker she will be too strong for her. Last season was one of Safarova’s best and I don’t expect her to have another slow start.
Her SP of 1.40 is a little short but anything over 1.65 feels like value.
Chardy has a 3-0 head to head record over Mannarino. He has never lost a set to his fellow Frenchman although only their meeting earlier this year was on a hard court.
If Chardy is in the mood then he has the game to control the match. He started the 2013 season well with a quarter final finish at the Australian Open although he lost both his first round matches in the lead up to that event.
Mannarino started the 2013 season with an elbow injury after he won the title at a Challenger event.
They know each other quite well so I’d expect there to be real surprises here although of course I don’t like Chardy’s price of 1.60 . Wait for 1.80 .