Undid all of the good work of Days 1-3 with a 0-2 result yesterday. Looking to bounce back strongly today.
NOTE: Here are the current plays for tonight, previews are being written as you read!
Taylor Townsend vs SW Hsieh
4 units Townsend -3 games vs Hsieh at $1.89 at Pinnacle
Townsend really surprised me in round 1 against Kato, and I will look for her to continue that form against a similar styled player here in Hsieh. I feel there is an element of a letdown effect for Hsieh, coming off a first round victory against Jo Konta. Whilst I don’t exactly have the highest opinion of Townsend, I have less of an opinion for Hsieh, moreso than Kato even, who Townsend defeated 6-4 6-0 in round 1.
Littered through Hsieh’s recent results include some really one sided losses. She won one game vs Errani,4 games vs Dodin (on hard), and lost to Destanee Aiava in straight sets 2 weeks ago. I really think that almost every point of this match is on the racquet of Taylor Townsend, and after the match she played the other night against Kato, it is the racquet I want to side with in this match.
Tomas Berdych vs Karen Khachanov
3.5 Berdych -6 games vs Khachanov at $1.98 at Pinnacle
Had you told me a month ago that I would be backing Berdych at a minus game handicap, I would have laughed, but here we are. Berdych was all over Struff in the first round, and I rate that performance, as well as his last fortnight, a lot higher than the books seem to have.
Khachanov was very lucky to get through round one, as he was very close to finding himself down 2 sets to 1 against Jarry before winning in 4 sets. He found himself being constantly challenged on serve, and as I said the other night, Khachanov is still unproven in best of 5 set tennis.
An in-form Berdych against a Grand Slam unproven Khachanov screams minus handicap to me, and I have played it as a result.
Jeremy Chardy vs Kei Nishikori
3 units Chardy to defeat Nishikori at $4.10 at Pinnacle
Happy to side with Chardy with the home crowd here. Nishikori’s 2017 has been up and down again, with injuries cruelling him at times when he has been in solid form. Chardy put together a very solid first round, defeating Albot 6-2 6-4 7-6, facing only 2 break points throughout, and saving both. Serving will be crucial against Nishkikori, so a straight sets confidence boosting win is just what he would have wanted.
Nishikori genuinely struggled at times in round 1 against Kokkinakis, and I would argue that had Kokkinakis not been returning from injury and not being match fit, Nishikori may have been on a flight out of Paris.
These two have split their past 2 meetings on clay, and Chardy actually led by a break multiple times in the second set and then a break in the third set at the Aus Open this year. When you throw the home crowd advantage into the equation, as well as Nishikori’s up-and-down form, I am happy to side with the Frenchman here to get the job done.
Anastasija Sevastova vs Eugenie Bouchard
4 units Sevastova -3.5 games at $1.90 at Bet365
Possibly the most underrated top 20 player for some time, Sevastova has put together a sensational clay court season. When you look at her losses over the last month, they have been to the top performing players only. She has 2 losses to Halep, one to Siegemund (who would have gone deep here if not for her ACL injury last week), and one to Pavlyuchenkova. Across her 9 other wins, she has only lost 1 set (vs Stosur). It is just really solid form that I am happy to side with tonight.
Bouchard clawed her way into the second round with a 3 set win over Ozaki, and her form of late has been haphazard at best. When you isolate the clay form for 2017, outside of the win over Sharapova, she has been pretty average overall. I just don’t think she has the claycourt nous and game to stay with Sevastova today, and as I result I am really happy to take the – games handicap here.
Karolina Pliskova vs Ekaterina Alexandrova
4 units Alexandrova to defeat Pliskova at $6.20 at Pinnacle ($6.40 at Unibet)
Very happy to oppose Pliskova on clay. I was so close to opposing her sister the other day vs Paquet (who won at $7), but this is a great odds bet in my opinion. Zheng managed to have an opportunity to serve for the first set in round 1 against Pliskova, however just didn’t quite have the weight of shot to challenge Pliskova in the long run.
Alexandrova has the shots to exploit the movement of Pliskova on clay. She is an attack-first player who doesn’t mess around, as shown with her huge win over Siniakova in the first round, winning 6-4 2-6 6-2.
For someone who is 5 wins and 8 losses on clay in her last 13 matches on the surface, I can’t justify the price for Pliskova, regardless of what her current ranking suggests.