Wednesday at the French Open 2012 was an excellent one for our bets with both wagers being successful.
David Ferrer defeated Andy Murray fairly comfortably and brought home the minus 1.5 set handicap bet, while Nico Almagro pushed Rafa Nadal close enough to bring his own handicap mark of plus 8.5 games in.
So, it’s on to Thursday, which is ladies semi finals day in Paris and we have one tight looking encounter and one strong favourite on the agenda. Sam Stosur kicks off proceedings on Court Philippe Chatrier against Sara Errani and this match-up strongly favours the Australian, who I expect to come through and reach her second French Open final.
Stosur is 5-0 lifetime against Errani and she is a clear favourite today at around [1.40] which is about right all things considered. The Aussie’s kick serve and top spin forehand are too much for opponents lacking in height to handle, as Dominika Cibulkova proved in their quarter final match and Errani will have the same problems today.
Despite a big improvement this year, which she credits to a different racquet, Errani was still unable to inflict any damage on Stosur in their meeting in Rome last month and if she holds her nerve, Stosur will take this match. Errani has been impressive this fortnight and taken down big hitters, such as Ana Ivanovic, Sveta Kuznetsova and Angelique Kerber, but none of those play the same way as Stosur.
Cibulkova likened it to ‘playing a man’ when she faced Stosur and admitted that the kick serve and forehand were way too much and although Errani is pretty good tactically I’m not too sure what she can do about it today given her size. I’ll be taking the US Open champion to win this one and win it well, although she may tighten up at the end and the 2-0 Stosur win has to be the call at 2.10
The second match is really hard to call, largely due to the inconsistent ‘feast or famine’ displays that Kvitova brings to the court. The Wimbledon champion was really in and out against Yaroslava Shvedova yesterday, but if she has a day where she’s not missing then the 2.85 about her winning could look huge. In four of their five meetings, in which Maria leads 3-2, the favourite has been beaten and I really don’t like the 1.42 about a Sharapova outright win today.
On current form she is the pick having lost just once in 17 clay court matches this swing, but if the weather plays a part her serve can go to pot and she was awful against Klara Zakopalova a few days ago. I can see this match going the full three sets, as I’m pretty sure that Kvitova will have a purple patch at some stage and take a set, but I have major concerns about her movement on this surface.
If Maria can mix it up and use the drop shot Kvitova will struggle and Sharapova’s three set record is so impressive that she’s the one that is more likely to take a deciding set thanks to her mental strength. Sharapova has won her last eight matches that have gone to a decider and lost just one of her last 21, so you would want to be on her if this match goes the full distance.
So, my bet in this one is Sharapova to win 2-1 at a price of 4.0
Best Bets: Back Stosur to beat Errani 2-0 at 2.1; Back Sharapova to beat Kvitova 2-1 at 4.0