It was another good night of WTA betting for this column on Thursday, as my tip Yanina Wickmayer battled past Mona Barthel for an odds-against victory. The Belgian will now face Aga Radwanska in the final in Auckland, while Vika Azarenka’s withdrawal from her Brisbane semi final against Serena Williams with a toe problem means it’s a Williams vs Nastia Pavlyuchenkova final in Queensland.
I would fancy both favourites to win those matches, but there’s not a great deal of value in backing either and I wager that I prefer can be found in Sydney. It’s the second round of the qualifers for the Apia International overnight tonight and In like the look of Madison Keys at odds-against when she takes on Johanna Larsson on Court 5.
This will be the first meeting between the pair and at 2.10 I would side with 17-year-old Keys to continue her recent good progress. Keys ended last season in fine form in Challengers with just two defeats from 15 matches after the US Open. A few shrewd judges have marked her down as an exciting prospect for United States tennis, and she has begun well in Sydney with a comprehensive win over Melinda Czink in which she didn’t face a single break point.
Larsson is much more experienced than her opponent today, but whether that will be enough to see her through this match at odds-on is questionable. The Swede did record a good win over Julia Goerges a few days ago in Auckland, but the German wasn’t at the races that day and in Larsson’s next match in New Zealand she was thrashed by Mona Barthel. Larsson also started well in Sydney with a straight sets win over Camila Giorgi, so this could be a tight affair. But the value, in my view, lies with Keys.
Back Keys to beat Larsson at 2.10