Miami – 20th March

Zhang v Baltacha:

99 ranking places between them but Baltacha has not been in the best form.

Zhang reached a quarter final of an ITF tournament a couple of weeks ago in the USA. She beat Heather Watson and Laura Robson on the way so might fancy her chances at taking out another Brit.

Baltacha has had some poor losses this year including against Krajicek, Foretz Gacon and Begu. She started as favourite in all 3 of those and lost in straight sets. She ended 2011 fairly well but has yet to produce that sort of form in 2012.

Baltacha often finds playing in hot conditions difficult and I’d expect Miami to be hotttt.

Worth a lay of her from the start or as an alternative wait for a lower price to lay her. There’s a chance you won’t get it though.

Update: When I first wrote the original post the first sentence was, ” Wow how many swings are we going to see in THIS one”. When I read the post there wasn’t really anything to justify that other than gut feeling so I took it out. However…. Wow how many swings did we see in THIS one??

The first set could have gone either way. In the first game Baltacha saved 3 break points and in the second game Zhang saved 4 break points. Neither game resulted in a break. That was fairly typical of the opening set which eventually went to the Brit after Zhang had missed a set point.

I somehow came out with over 40% profit from that set and decided not to push my luck any further.

Zhang won the next 2 sets to win 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.


Last year Kleybanova was diagnosed with cancer. She has fought hard against the illness and with chemotherapy she won the battle. She has been back in training since December and this is her first tournament.

She is up against Larsson who isn’t the best on hard courts. It obviously depends on how good her fitness and touch is but I think at 1.58 Larsson is worth a lay against the former top 20 player.

Update: Kleybanova started slowly. Initially the scoreboard showed that she had been broken. Then it changed to say she had held serve and was leading in the next game. It then changed yet again to show she was broken. Exciting when the basic information is wrong isn’t it?

Larsson managed to hold on and actually broke again for the set when it looked like Kleybanova was being more competitive. Kleybanova took the second set fairly comfortably and took a 5-1 lead in the third. Larsson saved 3 match points to eventually hold for 2-5 but Kleybanova served it out.

She won 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

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