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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Elise Mertens may pose big problems for Konta

Del Potro should see off Nishikori

Johanna Konta faces a tough test
1 of 1

Sky Arena & BT Sport 2, 4pm Sunday

Elise Mertens fans were expressing their frustration on social media about the Belgian's performance in her 7-6 6-3 Miami Open second-round victory over Bernarda Pera.

These so-called Mertens supporters should know better and they may be wrong.

Mertens was termed 'Messtens' on Twitter and that moniker may be harshly earned.

Far from being below her best in fending off Pera, Mertens actually did well to thwart the American and we may get to see that was the case when she meets Johanna Konta, the defending champion at Crandon Park, in round three.

Punters can consider backing Mertens to upset the Briton, who has not been at her peak in recent months, but the best way of nailing our colours to the Belgian's mast could be to bet on her to win at least a set. Betway are quoting Mertens at 4-6 and that looks worth an interest.

Maria Sakkari, who impressed in downing Anett Kontaveit in round two, could pose problems for Caroline Wozniacki's conqueror Monica Puig, while Sofia Kenin, another improving American, may make life tough for dual Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

In the men's action, Diego Schwartzman looks capable of troubling Milos Raonic. The Canadian is looking fitter and has been the subject of early support to defeat the Argentinian, but Schwartzman is a fine hard-court performer at his best.

He hammered Nicolas Jarry in round two and if there are still any weaknesses in Raonic's game, Schwartzman could expose them.

Jared Donaldson could be value to see off Joao Sousa, who had little to do to defeat out-of-form David Goffin for the loss of just one game in his last singles outing.

However, the best bet in the third-round ATP fare could be to back Indian Wells champ Juan Martin del Potro in his clash with Japanese ace Kei Nishikori.

The early birds have taken the best win odds about Delpo stepping up on his three-set victory over Robin Haase, but backers should still be okay taking odds of 8-11 about the Tower of Tandil successfully conceding his opponent a start of 2.5 games on the handicap.

Nishikori is slowly but surely fighting his way back to better form and he did well to deny John Millman in round two, but Del Potro is playing the best tennis on the planet right now.

Recommendations
E Mertens to win at least a set
2pts 4-6 Betway
J M del Potro -2.5 games
1pt 8-11 Coral, Ladbrokes


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Punters can consider backing Mertens to upset the Briton, who has not been at her peak in recent months
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