Last night’s advice of backing Na Li at odds-against proved to be sound, as the Chinese player took down Aga Radwanska in straight sets.
I suggested that Na Li had the kind of power in her game to hit through Radwanska in the right conditions and so it proved, as the world number six overcame her usual mid-match wobbles to see it through and land a nice winning bet.
Tonight sees the major players in the top half of the draw make their bids for the last four and Serena Williams faces fellow American Sloane Stephens in what should be a fairly comfortable win for the world number three, but perhaps not that comfortable.
There’s a lot to like about the game of Stephens and she should be pretty pleased about making the quarter finals of a major for the first time in her young professional career, but I doubt we’ll see her roll over like many we’ve seen this fortnight so far.
The fact that she’s playing her idol Williams in a Slam quarter final will of course make her a bit nervous, but she proved when playing Serena in Brisbane a few weeks ago that she won’t be overawed.
Her game lacks the outright power to match Serena, but she is a very solid and consistent hitter that can defend and stay in the rallies longer than Serena’s opponents have managed to so far.
I’m tempted by some of the handicap bets on Stephens, such as the +6.5 games handicap, but I’m concerned about a slow start due to likely nerves.
The match that they played in the Brisbane quarter finals was the closest that Williams was pushed in that tournament and the seven games that Stephens took that day is the most anyone has taken since Vika Azarenka managed eight in Istanbul at the end of 2012.
The bet I like in this is for the match to go longer than 67.5 minutes at 1.87 and the thinking is that Stephens is more likely to push Williams than Ayumi Morita did in the third round and that match still took 66 minutes.
Stephens has more ability than Morita and I expect some longer exchanges which should lead to a longer match that Williams should still win 2-0.
Best Bet: Back over 67.5 minutes in Williams v Stephens at 1.87.