We have a former top 40 player on the comeback trail today, playing in the first round of qualifying in St Petersburg. The question is: Does everyone know who she is?
I had a quick look through the Flashscore tennis page today, as I do most mornings. Generally i scroll down and see if there are any players that are at ridiculously short prices, especially in these early rounds of qualifying. Now, it is nothing against the players, but there are some erratic big hitters that I don’t think should ever be dramatically short odds wise unless they are playing against players who are levels below on form.
The player that took my eye today was Oceane Dodin. Flashscore had her down to play Bojana Petrovic today first up on court in qualfying. I had a look through Petrovic’s past matches on Flashscore, and noticed there hasn’t been a recorded match for Petrovic since 2013, which I found to be a bit weird. In that match, she lost to Rebecca Peterson 0-6 0-6, which is in no way appealing. Suddenly, the $9 odds for Petrovic went from being interesting to disappointing.
But they became interesting again VERY quickly, and I will tell you why.
You see, this isn’t Bojana Petrovic, the former junior that Flashscore believes is playing Dodin today. This is Bojana JOVANOVSKI Petrovic, former top 40 player cruelled by injuries during her career. We haven’t seen Jovanovski since the 2016 French Open, which ended a bad run of tennis due to right shoulder and wrist injuries that had plagued her from 2014-2016, whilst still playing patches of great tennis amongst it all. Jovanovski has career wins over Azarenka, Wozniacki, Jankovic, Pavlyuchenkova, Keys, Safarova, Cirstea, Mladenovic, Kanepi, Garcia and Peng amongst others. Yes these matches were years ago, but it is worth noting in my opinion. She also has 2 WTA hardcourt titles to her name in Baku and Tashkent.
Things did start to go south for Jovanovski in 2016. She only played 5 matches, losing all in straight sets as her wrist and shoulder issues started to become worse. At the time, she decided to take some time off to try and get herself ready for the hardcourt season to finish off the year. After a couple of months of conservative, non-surgical treatment, it was decided that Jovanovski would undergo surgery that would keep her out until the start of 2017. In 2017, Jovanovski made the call that instead of coming back and just leeching off her protected ranking like others have done (I’m looking at you Dmitry Tursunov), she didn’t want to come back to the tour until she was fully fit.
There were rumours throughout 2017 that she would make her comeback in the latter part of the year, but she is reported to have said in July last year that she didn’t want to perform poorly as a wildcard, instead waiting until she is fully fit to make her comeback.
Looking through the information on Jovanovski Petrovic, it looks like the decision to come back early in 2018 was made in September. This isn’t a last minute plan, and if you trust her comments along the journey, you can assume she is at a level to be able to be competitive again at the level. It looks like she also may have had surgery on both wrists, but she has given herself every chance of healing as best she could prior to her return 20 months later.
Now obviously there is a pretty big element of risk here, as not many players have a successful comeback straight away. At the same time, there aren’t many players that wait until they feel they can be competitive to actually come back to the court. Jovanovski Petrovic isn’t coming up against the strongest player I have ever seen in Oceane Dodin (lost to Bouchard in straight sets at the Australian Open).
At 26 years of age, this isn’t some twilight career comeback, as Jovanovski Petrovic has many good years of tennis ahead of her. It is great to see her back, but it would be even better to see her win at $9 on her return.
Dodin is 20/20 over the last 12 months, however indoor hard is probably her preferred surface. That being said, you never quite know which Dodin is going to turn up, so I couldn’t possiby have her at the price she is today, against a player with the career wins of Bojana.
If following along, I would play at a bookmaker that does in fact refund on retirement, as this is her first match back in 20 months. That being said, I am going to make a 2.5 unit play on her to win at $9, and for those looking for a way to cover that stake, I suggest to take play to cover that stake on over 16.5 game match total at $1.66 at Bet365. For me, I will just stick with the head to head play.
Jovanovic could lose 0-6 0-6 and I wouldn’t be disappointed with taking the price. High risk, but potentially high value reward.
2.5 units Jovanovski Petrovic to defeat Dodin at $9 at Bet365