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Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Tomljanovic could make life difficult for golden girl Puig

Puerto Rican may have to toil in her Austrian indoor opener

Ajla Tomljanovic is capable of rising up the WTA rankings
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ATP Shanghai Masters
Sky Arena, from 6am Tuesday
WTA Hong Kong Open
BT Sport 1, from 8am Tuesday

Ajla Tomljanovic could be a good bet to keep it closer than bookmakers believe in her Linz Ladies first-round clash with Monica Puig.

Puerto Rican Puig can dine out throughout her life on her Olympics singles gold triumph in Rio de Janeiro last year, and she certainly looks capable of tasting more success.

However, Puig looks overrated for this indoor date with Tomljanovic, a talented player who is capable of rising a lot higher in the rankings if she keeps plugging away.

The Croat has turned in some promising performances on the ITF circuit this year and upset Elena Vesnina in Miami in March and a reproduction of that form could give Tomljanovic a fine chance of keeping tabs on Puig and maybe even notching a victory.

Tomljanovic won their only previous clash on an outdoor court in Thailand in 2015, but that was closely fought and the oddsmakers prefer the higher-ranked player in this battle of 24-year-olds.

In the Shanghai Masters, Hyeon Chung played a blinder to down last year's beaten finalist Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 6-3 on Monday and the South Korean could make life difficult for experienced campaigner Richard Gasquet in his next outing.

The Frenchman's star may not be burning quite as brightly as it once did, but Gasquet is still capable of putting on a great show and that is enough to discourage a punt on the 21-year-old.

In the WTA Tianjin, Donna Vekic could see support to start well against Beatriz Haddad Maia.

But while Tomljanovic's compatriot is strong physically and mentally and possesses considerable ability, Vekic has a tendency, like a number of players, to save her best for bigger tournaments.

She may be better bypassed against Haddad Maia, a Brazilian who gives the impression that she fears nobody.

A Tomljanovic to win at least a set
1pt 8-11 Betway

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Tomljanovic has turned in some promising performances on the ITF circuit this year and upset Elena Vesnina in Miami in March
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