The semi finals of the Ladies’ Singles at Wimbledon 2015 are set for Thursday at the All England Club, with places in the final of the third major of the season up for grabs.
Wednesday’s play at Wimbledon produced one winner from my two bets when Richard Gasquet did more than enough to land the +1.5 set handicap against Stan Wawrinka.
Marin Cilic failed to take Novak Djokovic over the total games mark of 33.5 in a disappointing display and it’s over to the women on day 10, with places in the Wimbledon final at stake.
In 2012 and 2014 there was one favourite and one underdog winner in the Ladies’ Singles semi finals, while both favourites won in 2013.
Serena Williams vs Maria Sharapova
Williams has had about as tough a run as she could have had to make the semi final, with tests from Vika Azarenka, Venus Williams and a near-defeat at the hands of Heather Watson all before the semi final stage.
Again Williams had to dig very deep to overcome a stern challenge from Azarenka on Tuesday and based on rankings this could be another difficult one against the world number four.
It rarely works out to be competitive between these two however; with Williams overwhelmingly leading their career series 17-2 and not having lost to the Russian since 2004 the result seems a foregone conclusion.
Sharapova has taken a set only twice in the last 15 meetings and there has been a 6-3 or 6-4 set in the match in 11 of the last 13 of them.
The Russian has had a really handy draw through to the semi finals, with world number 30 Irina Camelia Begu being the highest ranked player she’s faced so far.
The standard of play in her quarter final clash with Coco Vandeweghe was mediocre to put it kindly, with Vandeweghe seemingly unable to serve and generally operating at a much lower level than she had in her previous matches.
And still an oddly passive Sharapova was unable to dominate the match, despite Vandeweghe’s big weapon not functioning and any repeat of that level will lead to Williams easing through untroubled on Thursday.
We know that they both like to play first strike tennis and that Williams is simply better at it most of the time than Sharapova and nothing I’ve seen from the Russian this fortnight leads me to think that will change.
The -2.5 games on Williams at 1.30 seems a ‘sure thing’, with Williams having covered that mark in the last 15 straight meetings with Sharapova.
The value bet here is the 1.67 about Williams 2-0, which has won in 11 of their last 12 meetings.
Garbiñe Muguruza vs Agnieszka Radwanska
I do have a vested interest in this one, with Garbi being the last of my outright bets running after Radwanska took down Madison Keys and I’m fairly confident that the Spaniard can make the final.
Keys, as I suggested could well be the case, was too inconsistent against Radwanska and too many unforced errors counted against her in what was a tight match with Pole.
Muguruza meanwhile continued her impressive run to the semi finals with a straight sets win over Timea Bacsinszky and providing Garbi doesn’t suffer badly from nerves I see no other reason why she shouldn’t get past Aga here.
Muguruza has won the last two against Radwanska of a four-match career series, with both victories coming this season – on hard courts in Dubai and Sydney – which are both played on quick outdoor courts.
This will be the first time that Muguruza has gone off favourite against Radwanska and as ever with these matches that are priced up as being very close I like to go strongly one way or the other.
Radwanska is always vulnerable to an attacking opponent of quality, as her record of 6-33 in completed matches against Williams, Sharapova and Azarenka shows.
Muguruza might not be quite up to that level just yet, but she’s not far off, and if she’s able to hit the backhand and forehand down the line as effectively on Thursday as she has been this could be a comfortable win for Garbi.
That was the case in Dubai in February when she had too much power for Radwanska and again it will come down to the winners to errors ratio, as it did with Keys.
Muguruza has improved several aspects of her play, with her net game being just one, and if she finds her range the -4.5 games at 3.35 is a decent long shot choice.
Sure thing: Back Williams -2.5 games to beat Sharapova at 1.30
Value bet: Back Williams to beat Sharapova 2-0 at 1.67
Long shot: Back Muguruza -4.5 games to beat Radwanska at 3.35