The men have a day off before their last four matches on Friday, so day 12 at the 2015 French Open is all about the women on ladies semi finals day in Paris.
Yesterday’s sole wager on the men’s side was a winner when Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal failed to produce a tie break in what was a fairly comfortable win for the Serbian.
Indeed, the only worrying moment for our ‘under 0.5 tie breaks’ wager was when Djokovic blinked when leading 4-0 in set one and allowed Nadal back into it and reach 5-5.
He just about managed to see the set out and by the end of the match he was a pretty convincing winner by the end against a beaten Nadal, who played at a similar level to how he has all season, which was never going to be enough.
We start the ladies semi finals at around 14:00 UK time on Thursday and a quick look back at recent semis at the French reveals two odds-on favourite winners in 2014 and 2013; one in 2012, 2011 and 2010.
The biggest price semi final winner this decade was the 2.96 of Sara Errani over Sam Stosur in 2012 and recent history isn’t that kind to big-priced underdogs in the last four of the French Open.
Ana Ivanovic vs Lucie Safarova
Both of these players head into this 14:00 UK time clash having played arguably the best tennis of the tournament so far on the women’s side and Safarova has impressed so much she’s favourite against Ivanovic for the first time.
Prior to a win on quick outdoor hard in Tokyo at the end of last season Ivanovic has struggled against the leftie game of Safarova and has lost five of her eight meetings with the Czech.
Ivanovic has started favourite in all eight and with more experience on her side at this stage of majors she could be a bit of value here, with Safarova playing her second major semi final compared with the four of Ivanovic.
All four of Ana’s major semi finals came in 2007 and 2008 though and although she won three of him she hasn’t made one since until now, so nerves will likely be a factor for both here.
Indeed, Safarova has been improving steadily in majors lately and her previous semi final was at Wimbledon last year when she lost to Petra Kvitova.
Having taken out the fancied Garbine Muguruza and Maria Sharapova the Czech’s confidence must be sky high and Safarova did beat Ivanovic here a year ago in their last clay meeting 6-3, 6-3.
That was the last time that Ivanovic met a leftie on clay and she’s only faced one left-hander this year, which was way back in January, but her career record overall is exactly the same against lefties and righties at 67 percent.
The Serb has a 10-4 record (2-0 on clay) when priced as a 2.0 to 2.20 underdog, while Safarova has lost six of her last seven when priced as a 1.70 to 1.90 favourite.
Only one of their eight meetings has gone to a deciding set and six of eight have been under 22.5 total games, which I like here given their history.
There may be slight value on Ivanovic here, but I prefer the unders.
Serena Williams vs Timea Bacsinszky
Williams hasn’t been at her best this tournament, with a few sluggish starts and a cold hampering her progress, but she looked a little better against the weaponless Sara Errani on Wednesday.
That said, I would have expected the American to really put Errani to the sword, but it didn’t really happen and I’d maybe give her a seven out of 10 for that performance.
Williams does tend to get better as the tournament progresses though and she’s a hot favourite to defeat what will surely be a very nervy Bacsinszky on Friday.
The Swiss admitted to barely sleeping before her quarter final against Alison Van Utyvanck, so she’s hardly likely to get more rest ahead of a first major semi final and the match of her career.
Bacsinszky has met Williams on two prior occasions and she’s been beaten in two each time, but she hasn’t been heavily beaten, with good starts in both priors against Williams.
In major semi finals Williams has a stellar 23-3 record, with her last defeat at this stage coming against Kim Clijsters in the 2009 US Open and the last time she was in the last four here she thrashed Errani 6-0, 6-1.
On clay as a 1.10 to 1.20 favourite Williams has a 24-5 career record, with one loss in her last 19 at that price, which was against Petra Kvitova in Madrid last month.
Bacsinszky has a 4-19 record as an underdog priced at 5.0 or bigger, but she’s won two of her last three at that price, against Kvitova and Sharapova, both on hard courts.
She’s never won on clay at this sort of price and as much as I’d like her to win today, having had a small punt on the Swiss at 100-1 a while ago I’m not sure I see it happening in her first major semi final against this opponent.
I don’t see the slow starts or sluggishness continuing now that she’s at the semi final stage and she showed no signs of a cold today against Errani, so I think this will be another 2-0 to the world number one, who has won her last nine major semi finals in straight sets.
Back under 22.5 total games in Safarova/Ivanovic at 1.87
Back Williams to beat Bacsinszky 2-0 at 1.60