Friday’s wager in the quarter-finals of the 2013 Mutua Madrid Open was a comfortable winner thanks to Sara Errani. The Italian was in control of her last eight clash with Ekaterina Makarova from the start and comfortably covered the minus 2.5 game handicap in a 6-4, 6-3 victory.
But the real eye opener of the day was Serena Williams dropping a set by 6-0 to Anabel Medina Garrigues in a three-set win on another day where all four favourites were winners.
Saturday’s WTA semi finals begin at 09.50 UK time with Williams taking on Errani. This is their fifth meeting, with Williams winning all four previous matches between the pair, but the number one seed will need to improve upon her stuttering performance against Medina Garrigues if she’s to win this one as comfortably as many would assume.
This is a classic match-up of the offensive hitter versus the variety, touch and feel of the defensive clay courter and it really depends on which Williams turns up. Her Serena’s patchy effort has seen her price leap to 1.28 from her last starting prices against Errani of 1.02, 1.07, 1.15 and 1.07. It’s worth siding with the defending champion and the –4.5 games at 1.83 looks value, as I can’t see Williams being as bad again today.
The second semi-final at 12pm UK time sees Ana Ivanovic take on Maria Sharapova for the ninth time, with the Russian having won the last five in a row, the most recent being in Stuttgart on indoor clay a couple of weeks ago. Ivanovic recorded an impressive win over Angelique Kerber on Friday and has a shot of snapping Maria’s 20-match winning streak on clay that stretches back to Rome last season.
Sharapova hasn’t really been tested this week but should be pushed today by a confident Ivanovic. Sabine Lisicki should have taken a set from Sharapova but missed set point by a whisker, and I fancy Ana to grab a set today.
Back Williams –4.5 games to beat Errani at 1.83
Back Ivanovic +1.5 sets to beat Sharapova at 2.16