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Friday, 14 December, 2018

There is still hope for Tursunov against hotpot Lu

Chinese Taipei ace recently won successive Challengers

Dmitry Tursunov gets in some competitive action at Wimbledon in June
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WTA Connecticut Open
BT Sport 1, 5pm

The world and his wife seem to want to get with Yen-Hsun Lu for his Winston-Salem Open first-round clash with Dmitry Tursunov, but it may just be worth swimming against the tide and supporting the Russian.

Both 34-year-olds are in the autumn of their playing careers, but while an ATP world ranking of 645th would seem to detract from Tursunov’s case in North Carolina, the hermit-like Muscovite has had the benefit of a few outings this summer so his fitness may not be as bad as many believe.

There is also the small matter of their head-to-head record, which shows that Tursunov has won all four of his previous meetings against his Chinese Taipei opponent and all eight sets they have contested.

Tursunov was thrashed by Fabio Fognini at Wimbledon, Benoit Paire in Hamburg and Gilles Muller in Washington DC, but it’s too soon to give up on this talented performer who was a top-20 player in 2006.

Lu goes to Winston-Salem having just won back-to-back Challenger Tour hard-court titles in China, defeating Evgeny Donskoy and Ricardas Berankis in the finals.

But if Tursunov steps up his level as he has done on countless occasions in the past, he could make a match of it against Lu – who peaked at 33rd in the world in 2010 – and a start of 5.5 games could be generous.

Punters face some difficult picks in the WTA Connecticut Open in New Haven, which is being screened live on BT Sport 1 from today.

Kristina Mladenovic ought to outclass Timea Babos, but the Frenchwoman lost in the first round in Toronto and Cincinnati so looks a risky proposition.

Recommendation
D Tursunov +5.5 games
1pt 4-7 Betway, Coral

Tursunov has won all four of his previous meetings against his Chinese Taipei opponent and all eight sets they have contested
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