The inspiring run of veteran Japanese Kimiko Date-Krumm came to an end in Melbourne last night after a tough fight with Bojana Jovanovski. The 42-year-old ran out of gas and was unable to resist the ball bashing of the Serb despite some raucous support.
Today’s matches on the women’s side of the draw feature two favourites that must be backed in a double that pays around 1.75
Angelique Kerber has won her last five matches against fellow left handers and seven of the last eight - including three against today’s opponent Ekaterina Makarova - in the last six months. Makarova can consider herself a touch fortunate to have progressed to round four after her third round opponent Marion Bartoli threw in 13 double faults and 43 unforced errors in total.
Of course, the Russian lefty has been known to produce a few odds-against shocks, not least here 12 months ago when she took down Serena Williams in straight sets. But that win is the only time so far that Makarova has been past the fourth round of any Grand Slam.
Kerber, having defeated young prodigy Madison Keys in the third round in straight sets, is playing her way into contention in this tournament after a slow start to the season in Sydney and Brisbane. I would fancy her to make the quarter finals at the expense of Makarova.
The other favourite that will surely oblige is Aga Radwanska, who is looking for her fifth straight win over the fragile Ana Ivanovic. Ivanovic’s last win over Radwanska came in the 2008 Linz semi final when Ana was the number one seed, but things have changed since then. Radwanska rarely loses to players ranked lower than her in majors these days.
I can’t see how Ivanovic’s often erratic hitting is suddenly going to become accurate and penetrating enough to get past the steely defences of the Pole and the third or fourth round is normally where Ana’s challenge in Slams ends.
Only once has she been past the fourth round in the 19 Slams since she won the French Open in 2008 and that was in New York last year, when she enjoyed a handy draw. I’d be very surprised if Ivanovic wasn’t packing her bags at the end of this match.
Best bet: Back Kerber and Radwanska in a double at 1.75