The Prague main draw got underway yesterday, however most matches were impacted by the weather. The Fruhvirtova selection from yesterday is on shaky early ground, with the 15 year old Czech trailing 2-3* 30/15. Pliskova was able to dig herself out of 0/40 and 15/40 deficits in her first two service games, following the theme of their previous meeting. As I mentioned in the preview yesterday, the pressure can build on a young player when they cannot convert early chances. Hopefully she has reset overnight and is able to keep up the fight today when they step back on court.
Curious at to where Prague sits in the world? Keen tennis observer @jwallmizzou has put together this map of the events for the week. As the tournaments start to come back, these maps will provide a nice reference point to help improve awareness around travel between weeks, and just generally how the tennis will look for the week. Make sure you follow him on Twitter!
One further play for today can be found below, as well as my thoughts on others matches from Prague.
Sevastova vs Begu (Approx 06:00pm AEST)
I think these odds would have been more accurate were this match in 2017-18, however I think there is a distinct advantage to Sevastova in this one.
Whilst she didn’t play a lot of tennis over the last few months (at a competitive level), Sevastova did defeat Goerges, Bertens, Svitolina and Kvitova in an exhibition series, albeit on grass and hardcourt. She appeared to be moving well and was clearly confident in her game. Clay is a strong surface for her, and she will want to take advantage of moving out of Halep’s quarter as the beneficiary of Yastremska’ withdrawal yesterday. This is a great opportunity for the Latvian.
Irina-Camelia Begu dropped back to the ITF level for some periods of 2019, using strong results at that level to push back into the top 100. She won the last tournament on offer prior to the COVID-19 tour suspension, claiming the WTA Challenger at Indian Wells on hardcourt. She struggled in Palermo last week, dropping her first round encounter to Laura Siegemund 3-6 4-6, and I just don’t feel on recent clay form that she is playing with enough confidence to consider at the +4 game handicap.
I have high hopes for Sevastova this week, and for the rest of 2020. I like her at the -3.5 game handicap that is available at a number of bookmakers. For fairness, this will be recorded at the -4 handicap at Topsport. This is a significant step up in opponent difficulty of late for Begu, even moreso than last week, so I am happy to oppose at the game handicap.
2 units Sevastova -4 games vs Begu at $1.90 at Topsport
Other match thoughts:
Mertens vs Paolini: Both had very one-sided losses last week in Palermo. I would have rather seen Mertens in Lexington, however she will be keen to atone for her loss to Sasnovich last week. This match is on the racquet of Mertens, and has the potential to be one sided if she responds well from last week.
Rus vs Pavlyuchenkova: Pavlyuchenkova started the year brilliantly, and is now back in the top 30. 2019 on clay was not a happy hunting ground for the Russian, however trying the marry up her form, her UTS wins, and Rus’ efforts at all levels leaves too many unknown variables for my liking. I am keen to watch this match.
Tig vs Krejcikova: I was originally quite keen on the price of Tig here, however with Krejcikova receiving the wildcard and playing at home, the odds here look close to correct.
Halep vs Hercog: With limited awareness of the form of Halep, that handicap looks too big to get involved with so many unknown variables. Halep is the one to beat this week, however Hercog will have moments where she will be able to dictate in this match. This is a match to study.
Strycova vs Sorribes-Tormo: Another really interesting match-up, with Strycova the slight favourite in front of her home crowd. Sorribes-Tormo is a tough opponent on clay, and this will be an incredibly close fight in my opinion. I was leaning towards a play on the total games going over, however I am happy to sit this one out and watch on from a distance.
Zidansek vs Siniakova: A really tricky match-up, and one I originally thought would favour Zidansek. I do wonder if I perhaps overrated the form of Zidansek leading into her match with Dodin last week, so I am going to take a step back in this match and watch on.
Bolsova Zadionov vs Ferro: I am fascinated to see how Ferro backs up from her title last week. Again though, I am happy to watch on, as Bolsova Zadionov was rusty last week.