Not a bad night last night although Shvedova’s pathetic performance reduced profits considerably. My body clock adjustment seemed much better and I didn’t feel really tired until around 4am. I was in bed by 5 and feel well rested.
Barthel started badly against Daniilidou and was broken 4 times in the opening set. Today she plays Larsson who knocked out Goerges in 3 sets. Larsson was broken just twice in 3 sets against the German. If Barthel has another slow start then laying her from the start is a good place to start. Once she gets into her stride she can over power Larsson but I’m hoping for a decent early trade if Larsson breaks first.
Update: Perfect! Larsson broke serve in the very first game and then took a 2-0 lead but she didn’t win another game in that first set. In the second Barthel continued to play very aggressively and Larsson looked as though her two previous 3 setters had taken their toll on her energy levels.
A very impressive win for Barthel 6-2, 6-1.
Kerber came very close to losing to teenager Puig in the last round. She lost the opening set and went a break down in the third. The match was finally settled in a tie break. Puig took a 4-1 lead but Kerber pulled back level. Puig had a match point. Kerber saved it and was able to take her first one a couple of points later.
Pavlyuchenkova beat Kvitova in straight sets. She has worked on her serve in the off season and other than the first couple of games the improvement was clear to see.
Kerber starts at around 1.60 . Her serve was inconsistent against Puig and if the youngster had just a little more experience and composure especially towards the end of the third set tie break she would have beaten the 5th ranked player in the world. Kerber looked a little lethargic and pale so perhaps she isn’t 100% .
I think a lay of Kerber could work well but I would prefer a lower price. Waiting for the entry price will give us a chance to see if she is again having issues on serve. An in form Kerber would be able to hit through Pavlyuchenkova but she isn’t at that level yet.
Update: Kerber won an early break and looked a lot better than she did in the previous round. She served for the set but was broken. Pav took it to a tie break which she won.
In the second set Pav immediately broke serve and Kerber’s body language was very poor although that isn’t uncommon from the German. She did manage to level the set and it again went to a tie break which Pav won easily.
Pavlyuchenkova won 7-6, 7-6.
The men are proving to be as unpredictable as the women but I think Hewitt has a good chance against Istomin. The former world number 1 is starting this season in better shape than he has in recent years and having secured a 3 set win over Kunitsyn in the first round both he and the Australian crowd will feed from that. He has won both his previous matches against Istomin although the most recent was in 2010. He starts at 1.90 and worth putting part stake on at the start with a view to adding more at or above 2.40 .
Update: Close but no cigar. Istomin won 7-5, 7-5.