I always like Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Monterrey, so I put my money where my mouth was with the four-time champion in Mexico at 16/1. It was looking good until Vika Azarenka gave her a bit of a lesson in the last eight. I can’t complain too much, it sounded like an awesome display from Azarenka, who went on to make the final. She also rolled back the years in the semis with a three-set win over Angie Kerber. The final was a step too far as she pulled out at 1/6 1/3 against Garbine Muguruza. This was Vika’s first tour final for three years and from that alone she will surely take a lot of confidence. It has been too long with all the off-court problems she has had and it really is great to see her compete in big matches again.
As for the champ, defending champ that is, Garbine Muguruza eased her way to victory, having had some scares early on. Ruse and Gasparyan both gave her problems. Gasparyan was 2-0 up in the decider but Muguruza played the pressure moments well. Mladenovic (just about) and Rybarikova were beaten in straights after that and she had started well against Azarenka before the injury became apparent. It has made me think, is she ready to step up again and win another major? At a time when every event is open and up for grabs? We know she can up her level, having said that there have been a lot of below-par efforts for a lot of the time of late. Maybe it is a bit knee-jerk, so I will sit on that thought for a while.
Having done my money in Mexico, I managed to find a much-needed winner in Charleston. Madison Keys winning ( 10/1) lead to a fellow twitter member claiming she should be favourite for Wimbledon. That is a big call, she is currently just about in the top ten of the betting. It is certainly worth keeping an eye out at the 22/1 for Wimbledon at the moment though, I can see the angle. This was reasonably impressive and there were a few positives to take from it. Beating best mate, Sloane Stephens for the first time, playing a flawless match against Monica Puig and then outplaying Wozniacki in the last three rounds landed her the title.
Wozniacki mentioned after, that playing on the faster clay courts in Charleston helped with the transition to the European clay. It makes a lot of a sense, especially when coming from Miami. Caro dropped just the one set going into the final (against Buzarnescu) but you always felt the match might be on the Keys racket and so it proved. Elsewhere, Aryna Sabalenka’s form seems to have dipped a little bit, which is understandable, Puig beat her on her way to the semis. I did have a cover bet on Belinda Bencic on the outright, she lost to Petra Martic in the quarters.
Andy Del Potro
Pictures courtesy of @madisonkeys and @garbimuguruza Instagram.