Belinda Bencic’s road back to the top of the women’s game has been a slow one. Since her injury in 2017 she has gone from the 312th-ranked player to being back in the Top 10, finishing the year at number eight.
Bencic had some great results last year, winning two tournaments and earning a semi-final appearance at Indian Wells, though perhaps her best result came in Flushing Meadows. The Swiss missed out in that US Open semi, narrowly losing out to the eventual champion Bianca Andreescu.
Bencic also has a very decent record against top 10 opponents, winning 11 of her 18 matches while her opponent here, Kontaveit, boasts a very different record of one win in seven matches versus top 10 players. Kontaveit definitely has some weapons in her locker but I feel Bencic’s arsenal is enough to limit the Estonian to only a handful of games and notch up a facile 2-0 victory.
The wily Belgian David Goffin definitely has the experience over the youthful Rublev as Goffin is playing in his 34th Grand slam compared to the Russian’s 11th.
Goffin has just shy of a 2:1 win ratio in Grand Slams and had a perfect warm up for the Australian Open in playing the ATP Cup. He helped the Belgian side reach the Quarter finals of the competition, losing to a very good Spanish team. He won three out of his four matches including a very impressive straight sets victory against the imperious Rafael Nadal, only Nadal’s second loss in a team event.
It would be the easy choice to go with Rublev for this match when you consider his form in the last two weeks. He has been red hot winning back-to-back tournaments in Qatar and Adelaide but all the tennis the young Russian has played could be detrimental to his chances. A lot has been made of the amount of tournament that the so called next gen play and the burn out that these players could face. If Goffin plays smart in this match he will keep Rublev moving and hope that he can tire out his opponent and if that happens I think that the fresher Goffin can edge this tie.
Karolina Pliskova has been the leading server on the women’s tour in four of the last five seasons, finishing second the other year. Clearly she is one of the best servers on tour.
Pliskova has started 2020 in fine form by reaching the semi-final in Brisbane. She played Osaka in that semi-final and over three sets notched up a crazy 15 aces. While we are still only in the early part of the season the big serving Czech is already averaging well over nine aces per match.
Her opponent Pavlyuchenko would be considered a decent returner, keeping her opponents to almost the Tour average level of aces-per-game – but I feel that with a line that is two less than that of Pliskova’s average it is definitely worth taking overs.
- B Bencic v A Kontaveit – Bencic 2-0 Set Betting @ 8/5
- D Goffin v A Rublev – Goffin Match odds @ 7/4
- A Pavlyuchenko v Ka Pliskova – Player B Total Aces Over 7.5 @ 8/11