Friday night in Mason, Ohio features just three quarter-finals of the 2013 Western and Southern Masters Ladies Singles after the withdrawal of Aga Radwanska. The Pole has understandably opted to fly home to be at her grandfather’s funeral, which gives Na Li a pass through to the semi-finals.
Roberta Vinci vs Jelena Jankovic
The first match on the card tonight at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre is an intriguing clash between two quite evenly matched, but I have to give the slight edge to the Italian after what I saw from Jankovic in an awful match with Sloane Stephens yesterday. JJ was terrible on serve – they both were actually – and she had to struggle through a two-and-a-half hour marathon to get the job done, which may leave her short today. Vinci had an easier time of things against her mate Sara Errani and that’s been factored in to a price of 1.72 about the Italian today. Their meetings this year on hard have been tight and over 21.5 total games looks worth considering in a tricky betting proposition.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep
I haven’t been impressed at all by Williams so far this week, and more importantly she hasn’t been happy with her own form in an event at which she has historically struggled. Perhaps the conditions make it too tough for her to control her big shots as effectively as elsewhere on the tour, but whatever the reason she’s yet to pass this stage of the tournament and it’s worth opposing her today against Simona Halep. The Romanian will be buoyed by her win over Sam Stosur and keen to avenge a thrashing at the hands of Williams when she was fatigued in Rome earlier this year. The 3.90 about Halep with a 1.5 set start is worth siding with here, with Williams below par.
Caroline Wozniacki vs Victoria Azarenka
I’ve done well by opposing Vika this week and I’ll be doing so again tonight. The Belarusian hasn’t got to grips with her game this week at all and was pushed by a below-par Magdalena Rybarikovalast time out. Vika's serve was again questionable and there were too many unforced errors for her liking, I’m sure. Wozniacki has been a little more attacking than usual this week and more willing to hit the return of serve, which is a positive for her after years of pushing. Azarenka may well improve here, but I’ve seen nothing from her this week on her return from injury to suggest that she’s anywhere near top form. Caro has a pretty good record against Vika anyway, with four wins from six completed matches, but they were a while ago now. Their most recent two scheduled meetings have ended in a withdrawal and a retirement – both from Vika. The bet for me has to be to take Wozniacki with a 1.5 set start at 2.05
Back Halep +1.5 sets to beat Williams at 3.90
Back Wozniacki +1.5 sets to beat Azarenka at 2.05