Apologies for the mistake yesterday. I seriously thought Florianopolis was played on clay as the draw was littered by claycourt specialists. No wonder the turn out for Rio was so bad as no one wanted to play a clay event in the middle of nowhere.
Madison Keys vs. Zhang Shuai
It was strange to see Madison Key's in the qualifying draw, when her ranking was good enough to make it as one of the seeds here. I guess she was late in her commitment and decided to play more matches before heading into Indian Wells. Good move I would say as some players scoff at the idea of playing qualifying when their ranking reaches a certain height. She faces Zhang, the lowest seed in the draw in a strange turn of events. Madison just needs to be more disciplined with her power and I do see improvement with her wins in qualifying rounds. I believe if she continues her form, she can be a dark horse for the title.
Pick: Keys in 2 sets
Iveta Melzer vs. Victoria Duval
I had to do a double check when I saw the name "Iveta Melzer" in the draw. Iveta Benesova is back! Well, as Iveta Melzer as she married Jurgen Melzer in 2012. Those who are unfamiliar with her, Iveta was a top 30 staple with several wins over top players before her shoulder started acting up. She took a 2 year hiatus and is returning to the site of her first title as a comeback. Iveta won this event all the way back in 2004 as a qualifier, but it was held on clay back then. I believe it's asking too much for the Czech to immediately spring into action after such a long hiatus. Duval has had ample practice through qualifying, and should be able to edge out Iveta.
Pick: Duval in 2 tight sets
Klara Zakopalova vs. Donna Vekic
Donna Vekic was slated to be WTA's next best thing after her run to the finals in Birmingham. However, she fizzled out and almost lost all her matches since then. What happened? It's really tough to handle the expectations weighed on you and I believe Vekic felt the pressure and wasn't ready for the added attention. She will face a tough opening round as Klara's flat game will suit the hard court surface. One thing that Donna can capitalize on is that Klara will be tired after her final loss in Rio. Maybe she can upset the Czech and start her engines again. However, I highly doubt so as this is not a final.
Sure win bets: Dominika Cibulkova, Yvonne Meusburger, Garbine Muguruza
Upset alert: Alexandra Cadantu, Hsieh Su-Wei, Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor