It wasn’t a great day of betting at Wimbledon 2012 yesterday, as both of my wagers came unstuck.
Florian Mayer missed an absolute sitter of a volley to go a break ahead on Novak Djokovic that would have seen him serve for the opening set and win my first wager of the day.
But he wasted that glorious chance and several others that came his way later on in the match and it left the only good news of the day being my outright tip Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is through to the semi finals.
Roger Federer’s back has moved from creaky to perfectly fine, so he was able to cruise past Mikhail Youzhny in the exact manner that I had hoped he wouldn’t.
It’s ladies’ semi finals day on Thursday at the All England Club and the match that looks like it could be well worth watching is the clash between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka.
Serena was in imperious form in her previous round against Petra Kvitova and a repeat of somewhere close to that level should see her improve upon what is already a formidable record against today’s opponent.
Wiliiams has a 7-1 lead over Azarenka, who hasn’t taken a set in their last three meetings and was thumped in the final of Madrid on the infamous blue clay 6-1, 6-3 a few months ago.
They haven’t met on grass since they played here in 2009 and although Serena won that one in straight sets as well it was too far in the past to have a huge amount of relevance today.
But what is going to be key in this match is the serve of Serena Williams, which against Kvitova was superb and I doubt whether even a very good returner like Azarenka will be able to cope if she fires it down in similar vein again.
Even her second serve was over the 90mph mark on an average speed basis and one of them touched 100mph.
That is some pace for a second serve – for example her average of 92mph is quicker than Andy Murray’s second serve average speed.
Azarenka has enjoyed a smooth passage through to the last four and certainly smoother than Serena’s. Indeed, she hasn’t dropped a set yet, but we’ve seen this before from her and it’s not always the best preparation for a big match.
She only dropped one set on her way to the final in Madrid until she met Williams there and was crushed and she only scraped past Tamira Paszek because of the Austrian’s Achilles heel of a weak second serve.
In the rallies there was little to choose between Paszek and Azarenka and I don’t put any real importance on Azarenka’s win over the feeble serving and mental brittleness of Ana Ivanovic who Vika defeated in the last 16.
Williams definitely struggled early on in this tournament, but she’s grown into it now at the right time and I’d be surprised if Azarenka was able to trade blows with Williams at the level she produced against Kvitova.
Serena has only ever lost one Wimbledon semi final and that was way back in 2000 to her sister, Venus.
The wager I like in this is to back Williams to win with a handicap of minus 2.5 games at a price of around 1.80.
If you’re looking for a bigger priced wager, the 2.35 about Williams to win 2-0 is one to consider as well.
Best Bet: Back Williams -2.5 games to beat Azarenka at 1.80.