It’s semi-finals day in Bastad and Bad Gastein, after another weird and not-at-all-wonderful day of WTA betting on Friday.
It’s fair to assume that Annika Beck was indeed struggling with injury against Karin Knapp; she won just one game in a thrashing. But I expected better than two games from Lourdes Dominguez Lino in these circumstances against Serena Williams.
In eight sets of tennis played in Bastad, not one was closer than 6-3 on a day where all eight quarter-finals across both venues were settled in straight sets. Unders backers would have been laughing in Bastad where each match was decided in fewer than 17.5 games, while in Bad Gastein two were done in fewer than 15.5 games and the remaining two weren’t exactly close.
Today’s semi-final schedule in Bastad begins with Johanna Larsson taking on Flavia Pennetta at 12pm UK time. This one holds little betting appeal to me: the Italian is the more likely winner but 1.62 seems slightly short to me against a Swedish player playing at home.
The other semi-final could be closer than the odds suggest, with Klara Zakopalova more than capable of running Serena Williams close at a big price. This will be their first meeting since 2009 when they played out two close matches on the dirt. Indeed Zakopalova did turn over Williams in an International event that year and it’s not out of the question that the Czech could do it again.
I’m still not sure why Williams is playing here and missing Stanford next week where she’s defending champion. It makes zero sense to me, but now that she’s in the semis I presume she’ll want to win. I still think she’s a little bit short at 1.05 against a player who can be very good on her day, however. I will side with this one going past the 17.5 total games mark at 2.0. The 4.60 on Zakopalova winning a set is also worthy of consideration here.
In Bad Gastein the opening match at 12pm UK time is a repeat of the 2007 semi-final here between Knapp and Yvonne Meusberger. This one holds little interest to me, but I will back Elina Svitolina against Andrea Hlavackova in the following semi-final.
The 18-year-old from the Ukraine is a talent and I like her chances of beating Hlavackova, who has no clay court pedigree and has had an easy ride of it this week with the opponents she’s faced.
Never having previously gone beyond the second round on clay at tour level, Hlavackova has faced opposition of a poor standard to reach the last four and Svitolina should come out on top in her first tour level semi-final.
The latter showed her potential at the French Open when she beat Romina Oprandi, who is a class act on clay. I’ll take Elina at 1.63 today.
Back over 17.5 games in Williams v Zakopolava at 2.0
Back Svitolina to beat Hlavackova at 1.63