Given the game of Barbora Krejcikova translates far far better across more surfaces than Anna Blinkova, this match-up in these conditions looks to be well suited for the Czech.
Krejcikova is coming off the best singles week of her career, having defeated Sakkari, Ostapenko, Kuznetsova, Potapova and Teichmann in straights sets on her way to the Dubai final, where she would ultimately fall to Garbine Muguruza in a tight two set match. Any carryover fatigue from that week should be gone with the 1.5 week break, and given her form on clay both in singles and doubles over her career, and her form in the slower hardcourt conditions in the past, I like her spot here against an out-of-form Anna Blinkova.
The confidence in the game of Blinkova is not currently present, with the Russian struggling for overall form outside of a run through qualifying in Doha. Her only main draw level win this year came in the week before the Australian Open, defeating Andrea Petkovic in three sets having saved match points in set 2. Her game is so heavily reliant on clean ball striking, and these conditions with her lead-up form leave a lot to be desired.
Whilst Krejcikova doesn’t have the biggest serve of tour, it is serviceable and at a level strong enough to consider taking her with the large handicap in this one. I am happy to back the Czech at the game handicap for 1 unit.
1 unit Krejcikova -5.5 games vs Blinkova at $2.00 at Bet365