Kuznetsova and Svitolina carry outright hopes
Thursday's action was disappointing, with Anna Blinkova facing a tough learning curve against Karolina Pliskova. The young Russian is a big prospect, however, and should benefit from what must have been a chastening experience.
Our extreme long-shot outright selection, Ana Konjuh fell to Daria Gavrilova in three sets, leaving both Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elina Svitolina to carry our outright hopes into the third round.
Both of these players have shortened in the outright markets, and are both correctly priced around the 1.501/2 mark tonight to get past Jelena Jankovic and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, respectively.
Barty favourite against Barthel
However, for tonight, I want to focus on the match between the young Australian, Ashleigh Barty, and the German, Mona Barthel, which is scheduled to start at around 8am UK time tomorrow, although some forecasted rain may delay proceedings.
Barty starts as the slight 1.824/5 favourite, and I wrote prior to her first round match against Annika Beck that I'm extremely impressed with her, statistically. Given her strong hold/break stats in the last 12 months, it is evident that she made the correct decision turning her back on a career in Cricket to focus on Tennis.
Opponent Barthel is again performing well in January - something of a habit for her, historically - and is yet to drop a set in the tournament, including qualifying.
However, it's worth noting that she was a heavy favourite in all her matches with the exception of the last round against Monica Puig (who is mean-reverting following her shock Olympic triumph) and Barty is also yet to drop a set this week, getting past Annika Beck and Shelby Rogers in straight sets.
Barty with the value edge
Hold/break statistics indicate that Barty has a solid edge for this match, pricing her at 1.705/7, and also demonstrate that this match is likely to be serve-orientated, with both ladies having projected hold percentages in excess of 72%.
Despite this, Barty has been strong on return this week, creating 13 break point chances in 11 return games against Beck, and 8 in 9 return games versus Rogers, and if she can continue recording those numbers in conjunction with her strong serve, she will beat many better players than Barthel in the near future.
There isn't a lot else that I like in the WTA on Friday, and it will be interesting to see if the top seeds - Angelique Kerber and Garbine Muguruza - both get through against Krystina Pliskova and Anastasija Sevastova respectively. Either one of these two exiting the tournament will be of great assistance to our Kuznetsova and Svitolina outrights if they too can get victories overnight.
Back Ashleigh Barty to beat Mona Barthel at 1.824/5