Sunday, 6 July 2014

Bucharest, Bad Gastein day 1: Clay anyone?

Bucharest schedule of play:

Bad Gastein schedule of play:

Match focus:

Klara Koukalova vs. Monica Niculescu

Doubles partners face off in this intriguing encounter. Monica's suffering from a dip in form in recent months, but will be eager to play well in her home country Romania. It will be tough facing Klara, as she's higher ranked and her doubles partner. However, there's a chance that the home crowd will get to Klara and make her bothered. If Klara gives up, Niculescu can win this. I think this will be a close match, with Klara emerging the winner though.

Pick: Koukalova in 3 sets

Flavia Pennetta vs. Grace Min

It seems that winning Indian Wells did more harm than good to Pennetta. She has been struggling mightily since then, and suffered humiliating exits in both Roland Garros and Wimbledon. On clay, Flavia should be the favourite, but with her current form, I cannot be sure. Grace Min hits well and can challenge players, but her mental strength is still an unknown. Flavia should be able to win this despite her recent dip in form. If she loses this, I will be very worried.

Pick: Pennetta in 2 sets

Stefanie Voegele vs. Julia Goerges

The good news for Julia is that she's playing close matches with top players, but she just couldn't get the win. For Voegele, the Swiss is barely winning matches against anyone of note, so Goerges can relax a bit. Besides, this is on her preferred red clay surface, which suits her long swinging strokes. However, you just never know which Julia will turn up, so I think this will go to 3 sets.

Pick: Goerges in 3 sets

Sure win bets: Flavia Pennetta, Annika Beck
Upset alert: Nadiia Kichenok, Anna Schmiedlova

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