WTA Tennis: Watson and Bouchard in action at Eastbourne on Monday
Although Laura Robson’s long-awaited return to tennis ended in a 6-0 6-1 thrashing in the first qualifying round at the AEGON International in Eastbourne, there are still British hopes in the main draw.
Guernsey-born Heather Watson (odds-on 8/13 match favourite with Coral) kicks off her campaign against world number 38 Varvara Lepchenko (6/5), who she beat in this event at this stage two years ago in straight sets. She is a tempting 6/4 shout to win 2-0 once more.
Watson will be hoping to join compatriot Johanna Konta, who shocked Zarina Diyas 6-3 6-2, in the second round, where 11th seed Elina Svitolina awaits after being given a bye.
London teenager Harriet Dart (5/2), meanwhile, has been given a tough test against Slovak Dominika Cibulkova (2/7), who is a former Australian Open finalist.
The 18-year-old will be making her WTA debut, but is certainly up against it. You can back her to grab a set, though, with odds of 11/4 for Cibulkova to win 2-1.
One of the big matches of the day will be between last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard (11/10) and American Alison Riske (4/6) in the second round.
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) and Belinda Bencic (6/5), also in round two.
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.