WTA Stanford 9pm Monday
One of my favourite hard court tournaments of the year in Stanford for the Bank of West Classic.
This event usually attracts the big hitters with the Williams Sisters dominating here since 1998.
There is no Serena this year and it is 36 year old Venus who is remarkably top seed this week and joint favourite at 4/1.
Dominic Cibulkova is also at 4/1 and is the second seed housed in the opposite half to Venus, with Britain's Johanna Konta third seed at 6/1. Sandwiches between the top three seeds in the betting is my selection here in Stanford Coco Vandeweghe at 5/1. The four players mentioned have a welcome bye into round two with Coco the fourth seed housed in the top half with Venus and scheduled to meet in the semi-finals should both make it through.
Venus took advantage of a soft draw to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon and a heavily strapped thigh by the end of that doesn't bode well for the 2000 & 2002 Champion, where at 36 playing in a tournament where movement will be crucial on these lightning quick courts she is opposed this week.
Dominic Cibilkova was in outstanding form winning at Eastbourne and making the semi-finals at Wimbledon also, but she was running on empty by the end and the 2013 Champion who will be suited by the quick conditions with her power game is opposed due to her successful but tiring month over the grass court season prior to the US Open swing.
Cibulkova's serve is her weakness and should be exposed against the three aggressive main rivals highlighted in the draw. Johanna Konta for me looks way short of her best on current form and doesn't appear up to the task of winning a title right now but the same could not be said for Coco Vandeweghe who is in superb form and it is reminded she was an 8/1 winner for us in Hertogenbosch at the start of the grass court season.
A disappointing Wimbledon means she is well rested coming into what will be a strong period of the Callander for her.
A huge serve, big ground stokes, and now steely mentality should see Coco go close. The runner-up to Serena in 2012, (7-5 6-3) is a far better player now and enjoyed positive results here since then. She is favoured over Venus in the top half and feel she has Cibulkova's measure on fitness as well as getting the nod on form over Johanna Konta.
ATP Washington 9pm Monday
The Citi Open is a duel ATP & WTA tournament to start the US open series.
A big field has assembled but it lacks quality on previous years where the likes of Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori are missing.
On first glance, this looks a wide open betting heat however with many of the top of the order either battling it out late in Davis Cup action or finals and semi-finals in Newport last week I can rule many out due to the slim chance of back to back weeks of form being maintained.
Top seed and former champion John Isner 11/2 has played 2x best of five Davis Cup rubbers at the weekend which is hardly ideal preparation for a player that struggles badly with knee injury.
Gael Monfils 8/1 and second seed plays on his favourite terrain but rarely puts it together for a full week and has been out of form since return for injury.
It is 7th seed Alexander Zverev that appeals at 10/1 who is third favourite and feel are worth siding with this week.
Accomplished on all surfaces should be well suited to these conditions and has all the tools in his game to go deep this week from the far weaker bottom half of the draw.
Other players to note include 14/1 Steve Johnson who looks like he needs a break following a successful but grueling grass swing, Davis Cup player Jack Sock has the game to go well, however, a late Davis cup weekend puts a line trough him with his body always being the factor that lets him down.
Grigor Dimitrov is a shadow of his 2014 best and never goes well over in America so this leaves Zverev as the man to beat for me. An early exit on the clay in Hamburg last week has allowed rest and practice on the switch of surface and the rising star on the ATP tour looks very nicely priced at 10/1 with BetVictor and Ladbrokes.
A mention must go to Taylor Fritz 66/1 who is hugely overpriced. He is in Zverev's section but watch out for this talented teenager over this Hard court series on home courts as he has a very solid game and we will be hearing more of this player on this surface in particular over the coming 18 months.
Recommendations 9pm Starts.
WTA Stanford - Coco Vandeweghe to Win Outright @ 5/1 Bet365 & BetVictor.
ATP Washington - Alexander Zverev to Win Outright @ 10/1 BetVictor & Ladbrokes.