Friday is quarter-finals day in week 20 of the WTA Tour at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.
The early start was worth it yesterday, as both of my 10.00 UK time matches produced winning wagers, with Na Li a comfortable winner over Sam Stosur, while Petra Cetkovska did enough to land the handicap bet in her match with Sara Errani.
Elsewhere, there was delight for Ana Ivanovic, who defeated Maria Sharapova for the first time since the French Open of 2007 and as pleased as I was for Ana, I said yesterday that Maria looked the most vulnerable favourite, and it was annoying that I didn’t act on that view.
Play begins at 11.00 UK time and it will be worth noting that it could be a tad on the windy side again today, but not as much as two days ago when it caused havoc.
Sara Errani 4.75 vs Na Li 1.18 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 11.05
No prizes for guessing that I’ll be siding with the Chinese in this one, with the appalling record of the feeble Italian against anything approaching a top class opponent taken into consideration.
Li has beaten Errani all six times she’s played her and the last time that Errani won a set was way back in 2008 in their very first meeting at the US Open on a hard court.
The world number two showed that she was on no mood to mess around yesterday in a dominant destruction of Stosur, who she had never before beaten, and she should show little mercy to Errani either.
Cetkovska really should have pushed Errani much closer yesterday, but despite dominating most of the play the Czech failed to take the chances she had and she’ll come away from that match very disappointed to lose in two.
Errani just can’t defend her pathetic serve against top quality opposition and she comes into this match having won just one match lifetime against a top-five ranked player and that was Radwanska at the French last year.
She’s 7-47 against top-10 opponents and I don’t see any way that she can get close if Li is anywhere near her best form unless the wind blows Li off course, which is realistically Sara’s only hope.
The 2-0 to Li looks the call here at around 1.50, which has come in from around 1.80 overnight.
Jelena Jankovic 2.10 vs Agnieszka Radwanska 1.71 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 14.05
I said yesterday that JJ should beat Flavia Pennetta on a good day for WTA predictions and it was a superb performance from Jankovic, who should be able to get the better of Aga in these conditions.
Hitting winners for fun against Pennetta on a slowish clay court – 24 of them yesterday – isn’t perhaps what I would expect from Jelena, but she’s enjoying herself this week and this represents a good chance to make the semi finals in Rome for the first time since 2010.
JJ beat Serena Williams in the last four that year before losing out to Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in the final and this is a great chance to get one over on the Pole, who has won the last five matches between these two.
None of them have been on clay though, with their only meeting on the red dirt going the way of JJ way back in 2008 at the French Open.
Clay is not the best surface for Radwanska and she’s enjoyed a comfortable draw to get to this stage. She certainly shouldn’t be up to beating JJ if the Serb repeats her level of yesterday and the 2.10 about Jankovic looks good here.
Elsewhere, Ivanovic could well find Carla Suarez Navarro a tough opponent today and the Serb will do well to back up that win over Sharapova with a similarly dominant performance here, but it’s not a match I like the look of from a betting perspective – not least as I generally get CSN matches wrong.
And there’s not much value in Serena Williams against Shuai Zhang in the evening match unless you fancy the Chinese player, which I can’t say that I do. The minus 7.5 games looks likely here at 1.95.
Back Li to beat Errani 2-0 at 1.50
Back Jankovic to beat Radwanska at 2.10