It’s set to be a late night for UK fans of WTA tonight, as the semi-finals of the 2013 Western and Southern Open are set for the early hours in Mason, Ohio.
Serena Williams v Na Li
Simona Halep’s weak performance was not what was required last night against Serena Williams, but I’m still not getting good vibes from Serena here this week. She was no better than average in the second set yesterday, which makes me keen to take her on again tonight. I haven’t seen one match from Williams that has made be believe she’s on her best form and I would suggest that she’s been no more than 70% in Cincy this week.
Na Li has had a day off after receiving a bye through to the last four and she should be up for this match, which will be her ninth meeting with Williams. She’s only won the one, but there has been at least one tie-break in six of those previous meetings, which indicates that she’s not a million miles away from the level required. Their most recent meeting in Miami on a slowish hard court went the way of the world number one 6-3, 7-6 but I fancy this to be closer, with the +5.5 game start on the handicap appealing at 1.83.
Victoria Azarenka v Jelena Jankovic
Azarenka was able to edge through again last night, spoiling my set handicap wager on Caroline Wozniacki. But the Dane had chances in the second set and was a break up and 3-1 up in the tie-break before capitulating. Azarenka again looked very shaky on serve and threw in a number of awful double faults, and faces a similar style of opponent tonight in Jankovic.
JJ was a surprisingly comfortable winner over Roberta Vinci yesterday and was excellent in the opening set. But Vika’s hitting off the ground was a little better against Wozniacki last night and if she can keep improving and sort her serve out then she should have too much for the Serb in what will be their eighth meeting. Azarenka has won the last three of those in straight sets, but I see this being closer. JJ can push her and the over 20.5 total games appeals the most in this one.
Best bet: Back Na Li +5.5 games to beat Williams at 1.83