In the first match of the day, Anna Kalinskaya takes on Irina Camelia Begu on Court 6. While the Russian wildcard has played in Mexico for the last two weeks, we last saw Begu in Dubai where she lost to Muguruza in round one. As we’ve seen so far, the courts over here in Miami are on the medium-slow side again even though the balls seem quite lively this year.
Hadn’t I watched some of Kalinskaya’s matches in Guadalajara and Monterrey, I would’ve probably agreed with the odds in today’s match. However, the Russian played some good tennis again after her brutal start to the season at the Australian Open qualifying and in Melbourne. She only lost to Leylah Fernandez in a close three-setter and beat the likes of Nadia Podoroska and Nina Stojanovic, both in straight sets, before running into eventual runner-up Viktorija Golubic last week. Today’s opponent should do well in these rather slow conditions too, however I still don’t fully trust Begu on whatever hard court she’s playing. The Romanian won the 125k event in Indian Wells last year, playing in similar conditions, but I’m rather putting my focus on recent form.
Begu’s rock-solid backhand might be the biggest difference between the two as she can defend both sides pretty well, but with Kalinskaya’s improved confidence, I’m counting on her to be the aggressor. If she can manage to dominate points without putting up too many unforced errors, I see an opening for her today. Apart from feeling better on court, Kalinskaya also enjoys being in Miami in general. She’s staying there quite a lot and also spent her whole off-season in Florida.
So while I do think that Begu should be favored here, I’m hoping for some Kalinskaya feel-good moments. The 22-year-old has all the talent in the world and should be closer to 2.50 than 3.00 in my opinion. Therefore, I’m splitting a unit on her to win and the match to go over 2.5 sets.
0.5u on Anna Kalinskaya to win at 2.90 with Unibet
0.5u on Over 2.5 sets at 2.62 with bet365