21st September 2015

We only have 2 main draw matches in the ATP tournaments. There are three WTA events this week and all of them are in Asia so some early starts. Rain has delayed the matches in China so hopefully that clears up and we can see some action. Check for start times.



WTA Guangzhou International Women’s Open

Zhang v Schiavone

Schiavone won their only previous meeting. That was in February 2011 on a hard court and she won in straight sets.

Zhang hasn’t won a main draw match since May. Schiavone has won 2 of her last 10 matches.

I’d expect a few breaks of serve in this match.

Slight value on Zhang but I favour Schiavone to win a scrappy match. Don’t go mad with the stakes though. Anything can happen in this one.



Niculescu v Putintseva

Niculescu won both their previous matches. They were in  2012 on indoor hard courts.

Niculescu is  the defending champion this week. She has improved her all round game this season so must be feeling confident of having another good week in China.

Putintseva can be a tricky opponent but her recent form isn’t great. She hasn’t won a main draw match in her last 5 tournaments. Most of her success in the last few months has come on clay.

Back Niculescu if she gets broken first.

French Open 2015 – Saturday, week 1

WTA French Open, 10:00 – Mitu v Schiavone

Having had an awful season so far (apart from reaching the Antwerp quarter finals) Schiavone found the inspiration to beat Kuznetsova who many, myself included, had schiavonefopenexpected to go deep in this tournament. Kuznetsova wasn’t at her best and hit 10 double faults but that was still a superb effort from Schiavone. She won 10-8 in the third set. That will have taken lot out of her both mentally and physically.

Mitu has had a lot of success on clay this year though mainly in ITF events. If Schiavone has a let down in this match or is just plain knackered which is almost guaranteed then Mitu has a good chance of making the 4th round. If she gets into a winning position she is likely to get very tight though and that is where Schiavone’s greater experience at the French Open could make life difficult for her opponent.

I see this going to 3 sets and give a slight edge to Mitu.




ATP French Open, 13:30 – Gasquet v Anderson

Gasquet leads the head to heads 4-2. They have never met on clay. Anderson won their most recent match  at this years Australian Open in 3 tight sets.

gasquetfopenGasquet reached the 4th round for 3 of the last 4 years. He fell at the 3rd round last year so the weight of expectation from the crowd is huge.

Anderson has reached the 4th round for the last 2 years and whilst clay isn’t his best surface he does seem to raise his game for the French Open.

Gasquet is the better clay player and should scrape through but I expect a close match. He had a 5 setter in the last round which won’t have helped his recurring back problem. That should level things up a bit.

Gasquet to win in 4 or 5 sets. Lay him below 1.25 for a trade.



WTA French Open – S Williams v Azarenka

Williams leads 16-3. She has won their last 3 meetings and all 3 of their clay matches.

Williams was poor in her last match and I have seen mention of a hand injury and also an azafrenchopenelbow problem. In their last match which was a few weeks ago on clay Williams won in a third set tie break Azarenka had her chances in that match. There was a reason for Williams’ poor performance in the last round so injury would make sense.

Azarenka has played ok so far. Her second serve wasn’t great in her last match but as she served a very high percentage of first serves in she didn’t really need it. She only hit 9 second served but won just 3 of them.

I think Azarenka has a real chance today. I will lay Williams if she takes an early break lead. Another 3 setter seems likely.



13th February 2015

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WTA BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games, 13:00 – Pliskova v Safarova

Safarova usually starts the season well but she hasn’t done this year. yesterday’s win over Mladenovic was her first victory in 2015. She served exceptionally well losing just 2 points on her first serve and winning 69% of points on her second.

Pliskova as expected has served well in her two matches this week. She was still broken 3 times by Beck in the  last round though. Several of the women were in action at the weekend in Fed Cup matches so be careful of Pliskova running out of steam.

This is their first meeting on a hard court. Safarova starts at 1.66 but we could easily see that trading higher in the first set. Pliskova won’t want 3 sets today so is likely to come out swinging in the first few games.

Tough one to call pre match as it depends a lot on Pliskova’s energy levels but Safarova winning in 3 looks a possibility.



WTA BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games, 14:30 – Suarez Navarro v Schiavone

This is the third time these two have met. Each match has been a quarter final but this is the first one away from the clay. They have one win each.

Schiavone made a poor start to 2014 but she is on fire at the start of this season. She already has 5 wins at this tournament as she had to come through the qualifying rounds. She beat the promising Dodin in the qualies and Koukalova and Kerber in the main draw. I thought she would do well against Kerber but wasn’t expecting 6-1, 6-1!

Carla struggled in her last match with Niculescu. Despite have won both their previous meetings she seemed confused by Niculescu’s slice and couldn’t find any consistency. However after the first set Niculescu received treatment for her back and wasn’t able to serve as she had been.  Niculescu won just 2 more games in the next 2 sets.

Suarez Navarro starts at 1.65 but I don’t think she will have an easy day at the office. She has started slowly in both her matches this week and that is nothing new to her. When Schiavone is confident she can be a formidable presence and if Carla is a little unsure of herself she could feel intimidated.

It should be a close one. Three sets would be no surprise but I have to favour Schiavone.




ATP Memphis Open, 19:00 – Young v Tomic

Both had good wins in the last round. Tomic came from a break down in the second set to beat Dolgopolov in straights. Young beat fellow American Kudla also in straight sets.

Young will have the crowd behind him but it hasn’t helped him much in previous years. His record in Memphis is poor.

The stats for the last 6 months favour Young in every category except service holds.

Tomic starts at 1.62 which too low but if he can maintain his current level of play he should take this. 1.85 is a fairer price on him.