Caroline Wozniacki v Sam Stosur
Not many would predict that Sam Stosur would have such a poor record on the grass courts when you look at the way she approaches her tennis. Her serve, especially the kicker, and her ability off the forehand and playing the net should mean Stosur is a very strong grass court player, but it simply hasn’t happened for her at Wimbledon.
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Even recent form at any grass court tournament has not been very good from Stosur and the Australian is 2-5 in her last seven matches on the grass. The worry for Stosur fans has to be that all five of those losses came as the favourite and mainly as a strong favourite too.
Being a favourite isn’t a problem in this match as she takes on Caroline Wozniacki in the Second Round. It had been some time since we saw the former World Number 1 on the court having missed the entire clay court season, and Wozniacki has struggled for consistency which happens off a long lay off. However her win over Alize Cornet in the First Round was impressive and her added feel for the surface should give her an edge in this Second Round match.
Matches between these two players have been close through their career and the Wozniacki 5-4 lead on the head to head shows that. The Dane has won the last two matches on grass though, both in Eastbourne, and I think she is going to have a bit too much again in this one. If Stosur serves well she should be able to take a set, but I think Wozniacki comes through 46, 63, 64.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Caroline Wozniacki -2.5 Games @ 1.85 with 888 Sport
Monica Puig v Ana Konjuh
Both players have come through the Qualifiers to take their place in the Second Round in Eastbourne and that should mean two confident players take to the court. Monica Puig already has one Semi Final appearance on a grass court this season, but she is taking on a player in Ana Konjuh of whom big things are expected in her future.
It hasn’t been the best 2016 for Konjuh so far as perhaps some of the expectations on her shoulders has had an effect on her tennis. It does have to be remembered that the Croatian player did win the title in Nottingham last season so is clearly very happy on a grass court, but she is going to need to be at her best against Puig who has a big game that should be suited to this surface too.
Puig didn’t have a great grass court season last year, but she has previously reached the Fourth Round at Wimbledon so can play on this surface. She is also in the midst of what looks to be a career year for Puig and that confidence might prove to be the key difference in this match between these players.
I can see this one going three sets, but that is where a confident Puig should be too good for Konjuh who is perhaps not feeling her best tennis. I like Puig to come through 63, 46, 64 in this one.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Monica Puig -2.5 Games @ 1.90 with Bet365
Ekaterina Makarova v Roberta Vinci
It hasn’t been a great first few months of the 2016 season for Ekaterina Makarova but it is still a surprise to see her dropped to Number 39 in the World Rankings. The Russian had to battle harder than expected to beat Tara Moore in the First Round, but Makarova has performed very strongly in Eastbourne in the past and does enjoy the grass.
The same might not be said for the Number 2 Seed Roberta Vinci who is coming in off a disappointing clay court campaign. This is her first grass court match of the year and it can’t be ignored that the Italian has lost all five matches played on the surface since reaching the Fourth Round at Wimbledon in 2013. Vinci has won just two sets in those five matches and now faces someone who has a big serve and heavy groundstrokes.
Makarova has regularly reached the Quarter Final in Eastbourne and is a former winner here, although she will have to contain the unforced errors to keep Vinci at bay. She didn’t serve well enough when losing to Vinci in Stuttgart on a clay court earlier this season, while they are 2-2 on the head to head when playing on a hard court.
The grass courts should give Makarova more of an edge though and I think Vinci’s recent poor performances on the surface as well as recent poor form has to be considered. As long as Makarova keeps her emotions in check, I think she is good enough to find a 64, 64 win.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Ekaterina Makarova -3.5 Games @ 1.96 with Pinnacle
Prices correct at time of writing.