We are obviously still finding out how the players are going about their business so I won’t be going for any in depth analysis.
Heather Watson takes on Cirstea In Auckland. Watson won their only previous match this year which was in Miami. She won in 3 sets. Her confidence has grown steadily in 2012. She won the title in Osaka in October. In Tokyo she took Sharapova to 3 sets.
Cirstea in contrast finished the year weakly losing to pervak, Martic and Morita.
Watson starts at 1.73 and based on last season that looks like value. All players are keen to start the new season well but Watson in particular will be expecting a great season from herself and it will be interesting to see how she handles her first match. Cirstea might subconsciously just be waiting for things to start as the previous season ended so her confidence could be fragile. if Watson can get her nose in front she should be able to control the match.
I will place a small back on Watson at the start while we see what shape she is in. I hope to get the rest of my stake on her above 2.20 .
Update: A very tight first set with just 1 break giving the set to Watson. Cirstea then called a medical time out (MTO) and retired.
Watson won 6-3, (ret)
Zakopalova played a pretty solid match yesterday losing just 2 games to Hlavackova. She starts as favourite against Elina Svitova who ended last season well on the ITF tour. Yesterday she beat Peer 6-1, 6-3.
Zak’s weakness is often her serve but her stats from her last match were respectable. She starts at 1.61 on Betfair but I expect her to have some problems today. There’s a huge gap in their ages and in their experience but Elina’s confidence must be sky high and I think she will at least take a set.
I’d prefer a lower price to lay Zak but I expect her to trade a lot higher than her SP.
Update: Svitova kept it close but didn’t manage to take a set.
Zak won 6-4, 6-3.