MARK Stinchcombe (@markstinchcombe) picks out his favourite bets from Day 3 of the Australian Open.
Katerina Bondarenko v Svetlana Kuznetsova | Wednesday 00.00 | Eurosport
In my outright preview I mentioned a number of the top women players are struggling with injury/fitness, so it's not too much of a surprise to see the likes of Simona Halep knocked-out early.
At the other end of the scale, arguably the form player of the WTA at the moment alongside Victoria Azarenka is Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Winner in Sydney last week, beating the likes of Halep, Errani and Lisicki along the way, she also won her last tournament of 2015 in Moscow before destroying Daniela Hantuchova 6-0 6-2 in the 1st Round here, posting some very impressive numbers – 23 winners to four unforced errors, 10 aces, zero double faults, 73% 1st serve % winning 88% of points and 78% of points on her 2nd serve.
She's now won 11 of her last 12 matches on tour by an impressive average of 7.18 games. She faces fellow veteran Katerina Bondarenko on Tuesday night, just one year her junior, who isn't doing anything of note that should remotely concern Kuznetsova.
She lost in the 1st Round of the Hobart qualies as 4/11 favourite to Pauline Parmentier 6-2 6-2 and was defeated in the 1st Round of Brisbane after struggling through qualifying there.
She has only made the 3rd Round once since making her debut here a decade ago and has been knocked-out six times in either qualification or the 1st Round and that's without playing here in 2014 or 2013.
So with Kuznetsova battering her opponents at the moment, I was expecting a handicap line of 6.5/7.5. Therefore, I'm surprised to see we can back the Russian -5.5 at 24/23 (Marathon). This bet would have won in nine of her last 11 victories.
Given her seemingly unstoppable form at the moment, it is also worth chancing she races through the 1st set 6-0, as she has done in her last two matches.
In fact she's handed out a bagel in five of her last 11 wins and last time Bondarenko faced a player of her ability in Madison Keys in Beijing last October, Madison bagelled her in the final set. At 14/1 (Paddy Power) it's big enough to throw a few quid at.
Katerina Bondarenko v Svetlana Kuznetsova – Svetlana Kuznetsova -5.5 games (24/23 Marathonl)
Katerina Bondarenko v Svetlana Kuznetsova – Either player to win the 1st set 6-0 14/1 (Paddy Power)
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