Sunday’s best bet in the 2013 Mutua Madrid Open final was a comfortable winner as Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova with ease. I highlighted the marked difference in price between the previous matches concerning the pair and yesterday’s odds, and suggested that Williams was value. So it proved as the American retained her title with plenty to spare.
There’s no time for the cream of the WTA Tour to rest though, as the second of the back-to-back Premier events starts in Rome with the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Last year’s first round yielded 16 winning favourites from 24, with Karin Knapp being the biggest priced winner when she took down Roberta Vinci in round one at around 3.4.
On paper the match of the day must be Venus Williams against Laura Robson, which takes place at around 12.30pm UK time on Centrale Court, with Robson available to back at around 2.25.
Robson last week dispensed with the services of coach Zeljko Krajan after just nine months in which her game showed no real signs of improvement. The decision immediately paid dividends when she defeated Aga Radwanska and should have beaten Ana Ivanovic in Madrid. Laura choked badly from 5-2 up in the final set against Ivanovic, but beating the world number four and almost beating a former French Open champion and world number 16 on clay counts as a pretty good week for the Brit.
She did have conditions to suit her game in Madrid, but today will be different in the slower Rome surface. It’s forecast to be warm today so it may not be too bad - and in any event she’s playing Williams, so there won’t be much in the way of subtlety involved.
Venus has been out with a back injury, which you would think would affect her serve if it’s still lingering. This will be an entertaining clash of big winners and wild errors in which Laura should be confident of getting a result.
I can see this one going long and backing Robson with a 2.5 game start at 1.95 looks the way to go, as she will be full of confidence and has every chance against a slightly rusty and potentially injured opponent.
Best bet: Back Robson +2.5 games to beat Williams at 1.95