Carla Suarez Navarro v Denisa Allertova
I will admit that I am not always keen to back Carla Suarez Navarro when it comes to big numbers like this for her to cover. While the Spaniard has found a way to win matches, her serve can be attacked and that makes it hard to trust her to win matches by a margin to cover this number of games.
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However, on this occasion I do think Suarez Navarro can cover against Denisa Allertova even though the Czech player has produced two very good wins this week. Allertova does have some strong qualities and I have watched her play at times and really respected what she can do, but I am not sure she has the consistency to stick with Suarez Navarro in this one.
Allertova’s recent losses have come against players who can make plenty of balls and to players who don’t have the biggest serves on the Tour either. I think this suggests that Suarez Navarro will be able to outmanoeuvre her in this Quarter Final as long as she mentally doesn’t check out of the sets.
The recent form displayed by Suarez Navarro is not very encouraging, but she has played well in Linz as she tries to keep alive her hopes of making it to Singapore. Her two wins have come by comfortable margins and I think she will come through a tough first set before pulling away with a 7-5, 6-3 win and move into the Semi Final on Saturday.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Carla Suarez Navarro -4.5 Games at 2.20 with Pinnacle
Madison Keys v Oceane Dodin
This has been a good week to back Madison Keys who has covered for me in both of her matches in Linz ahead of this Quarter Final. I am looking for Keys to make it a hat-trick of wins when she takes on Oceane Dodin, although the Frenchwoman is someone who I feel is destined for a solid career on the WTA Tour.
Unfortunately, I think there is still some developing for Dodin to do before she can really match some of the better players on the Tour. The recent form does make Dodin dangerous as she will have built up plenty of confidence, but she won’t have faced the kind of firepower that Keys brings to the court too often in that run.
Once again the Keys serve is going to be so important in this match as that shot inspires the rest of her game. She will certainly also look to attack the Dodin second serve and I think trying to deal with that power is going to be eye opening for the Frenchwoman who will be able to get away with some shots at the level she has been competing in, but not able to do the same against Keys.
I do think it will take Keys a bit of time to assess what Dodin brings to the court so the first set could be tight. If Keys continues to serve as well as she has in the last couple of rounds, I do think she will put the pressure on Dodin and eventually wear her down in this one and come through with a 6-4, 6-2 win.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Madison Keys -5.5 Games at 2.20 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Dominika Cibulkova
The chase for a spot in the WTA Finals has clearly motivated Dominika Cibulkova who has won both of her matches very easily so far this week. This might be the biggest challenge she has faced though against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who is the defending Champion in Linz and has played her best tennis in weeks here.
Matches between these players have been very competitive in the past and I am anticipating another one on Friday. You can see that they match up well with each other but Cibulkova’s edge in terms of her movement around the court should prove to be the decisive factor in the match.
In saying that, I don’t think it is going to be straight forward for Cibulkova with both players possessing plenty of power on the groundstrokes and the first strike being extremely important. If Cibulkova gives Pavlyuchenkova too many second serves to look at, I think she could be put in big trouble off the return, while generally Cibulkova’s serve is not as effective as the Russian’s can be.
I just don’t know if Pavlyuchenkova is going to have the consistency to continue finding the big winners over two hours that these players are likely to spend on court. Winning a set should still give Pavlyuchenkova a chance to cover this number though and I am expecting her to do that, although ultimately her defence of the title her might come up short as Cibulkova battles to a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova +3.5 games at 1.92 with Unibet
Prices correct at time of writing.