Welcome to my free preview for my selection today from Hong Kong.
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- Free subscription to Australian Open service in 2019 or;
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WTA Hong Kong
Bogdan vs Dolehide (Approx 9:00pm AEDST)
I am pretty keen on Bogdan to turn the tables on what has been a poor couple of tournaments after a very solid WTA level run. Bogdan’s form across August was very impressive, with wins over Makarova, Frech, Kenin, Niculescu, Vekic, Kuzmova, Blinkova, Peterson and Bouzkova, and some respectable performances against the likes of Sabalenka (lost in 3 sets). Her losses have come against in-form players too, including Giorgi, Makarova and Kuznetsova.
Whilst her last couple of weeks have not been as positive (retired vs McHale, lost to Duan and Yastremska), she can be forgiven for a couple of losses coming off what was a very busy August period. Her losses also came to some players who are starting to hit some relatively solid form as well. Her return of serve against some of the bigger strikers of the ball is crucial, and it is something that will definitely come into play today as she comes up against Dolehide, who has made the draw as a Lucky Loser.
After a couple of impressive runs on US soil during the US hardcourt season in March (defeated Cibulkova and Rogers, lost in 3 sets to Halep), things just haven’t clicked as well for Dolehide as the season has progressed, and as the season has moved away from North America. It is very clear from looking at the results of the year that she plays her best tennis on home soil, with her form as she moves away to abroad not quite living up to the same standard. In fact, she has one top-150 win away from North America (def Golubic in Roland Garros R1). For someone that relies so heavily on striking the timing the ball so well, she just doesn’t seem to adjust as well to the conditions away from home., and I don’t think these slower courts will be overly friendly. Whilst she got her first victory at WTA level in 2 months in qualifying the other day (def 600th ranked Wu Ho 6-2 6-4, she was unable to back it up in the second and final round of qualifying, losing 6-7 6-4 3-6 to Kerkhove. The further the match progressed, the more trouble Dolehide found with holding serve. Her first serve percentage gradually dropped each set, and she really struggled to return with any consistency.
I think a big area of focus for this match for mine is going to be the Bogdan return of serve versus the Dolehide serve as the match progresses. I feel as things start to tighten up, Dolehide’s success on serve will start to drop as well. The longer this match goes, the better for Bogdan. I feel if Bogdan wins, that she should be covering the handicap here. If Dolehide puts together a phenomenal performance and wipes Bogdan off the court, then fair play to her. From what I have seen recently, I just don’t see it all clicking for Dolehide against a player such as Bogdan, making the -2.5 game handicap a very appealing prospect in this one.
Look for Bogdan to focus on a high percentage of first serves, with placement preferable to power. As the match evolves, she should pressure the Dolehide serve more and more as fatigue starts to set in. For things to turn around for Dolehide, I’d need to see a significant improvement here.
3.5 units Bogdan -2.5 game handicap vs Dolehide at $1.91 (-110) at Topsport