Friday at La Caja Magica features the WTA quarter-finals in the 2013 Mutua Madrid Masters. All four favourites won on Thursday, which gives us a quarter-final line-up that features Serena Williams first up at 09.50 UK time taking on Anabel Medina Garrigues, followed by Kaia Kanepi facing Maria Sharapova on Manolo Santana Court. Then Angelique Kerber takes on Ana Ivanovic after the Lepchenko/Errani clash on Arantxa Sanchez Vicario from 2pm.
The Williams/Medina Garrigues match looks set to be a non-event with the American expected to steamroller the Spaniard in a similar fashion to the 6-3, 6-1 win that Serena gained over Anabel in Rome last year. Under 17.5 games looks nailed on in that one at around 1.50.
Kanepi has more of a shot against Sharapova though in a repeat of last year’s French Open quarter-final, but this is quicker than Roland Garros and Maria looks short at 1.11. Kaia did take a medical timeout against Daniela Hantuchova yesterday, however, so her fitness needs to be taken on trust today.
We know Kanepi has the game to beat pretty much anyone and these pacy conditions help her big hitting, but it’s largely between the ears where Kanepi falls down and it makes her tricky to predict. She has been handed a rather generous +6.5 game handicap, which looks the bet in this one at 1.62.
Errani should have few problems in getting past Makarova, who is yet to better this quarter-final stage in any Premier or Grand Slam event. Indeed, this is only her third time in the last eight and both times she’s been comfortably beaten, which is what I’m expecting today.
Makarova has a tendency to stun the big names early on in tournaments but I can’t see her having the consistency or pure power required to get by the wily Errani, who I will take to win minus 2.5 games on the handicap at 1.83.
The final last-eight clash could be the closest and I can’t have Ivanovic as favourite in this one at 1.78. I’ve never been a fan of the flaky Serbian and Laura Robson, who choked from 5-2 ahead in their previous round clash, should have beaten her. That said, Kerber ought to have lost to Sveta Kuznetsova yesterday and this is not a match that I would like to put the family silver on given the mental deficiencies of both players.
If I were betting in this one, I’d favour Kerber despite the 0-2 head-to-head in Ana’s favour. Ivanovic looked weary in her last match and has played a lot of tennis in the past, but Kerber had a tough one yesterday. The overs looks likely in this.
Best bet: Back Errani –2.5 games to beat Makarova at 1.83