Eastbourne International second round: Watson comfortably through
While Monday at Eastbourne saw rain delays, meaning some matches have been pushed to Tuesday, Britain’s Heather Watson shone brightest as she came through her first round clash against Varvara Lepchenko with relative ease.
Guernsey-born Watson (5/6 for victory with Coral) won in straight sets against the American, who is ranked 26 places above her, and now faces 11th seed Elina Svitolina (also 5/6).
The duo have never faced each other on the professional circuit before but, with Watson reaching the semis here last year, back her to triumph 2-1 at 3/1.
Another Brit, wildcard Johanna Konta, meanwhile, caused one the shocks of the opening round, as she knocked out Zarina Diyas, who is ranked over 100 places above her.
Konta (7/4), born in Australia, will need to play the match of her life next up, though, as she faces world number eight Ekaterina Makarova (2/5). Back the Russian at 11/4 to win 2-1.
One of the big matches of the day, which was postponed from Monday, will be between last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard (11/10) and American Alison Riske (4/6).
Canadian Bouchard has not been in good form of late, which is why she is unfancied for victory with Coral, but she has won their last three meetings. Take enticing odds of 10/3, therefore, for Bouchard to triumph 2-1.
Another crunch clash will be between rising stars in the women’s game Madison Keys (8/13), who won this event last year, and Belinda Bencic (6/5).
Swiss teenager Bencic, 18, recently reached the final at the Topshelf Open in Netherlands, beating the likes of Jelena Jankovic in the process, but was also thrashed by Keys at the French Open this year 6-0 6-3. Defending champion Keys is a 6/4 chance to win 2-0 again.
Former world number two Svetlana Kuznetsova (8/13), meanwhile, is also in action, as she faces Magdalena Rybarikova (6/5) in the opening round.
Double Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova is playing on her least favoured surface grass, but can be backed at 3/1 to win 2-1, and thus set up an interesting encounter with 15th seed Flavia Pennetta.
Others to look out for include 2009 Eastbourne champion Caroline Wozniacki (1/5), who faces Australia’s Jarmila Gajdosova (10/3) and 2008 winner Agnieszka Radwanska (2/9) in her match against Irina Falconi (3/1).
Sloane Stephens, meanwhile, is a decent shout at 11/8 to upset fifth seed Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro (8/15).