It is semi-final Saturday in the WTA Internazionali BNL d’Italia 2014 at Rome’s historic Foro Italico.
And we won’t be seeing the world’s number two ranked player after Na Li was defeated by a bout of sickness that saw my opening wager of Friday drown in what was at the time an inexplicable sea of errors.
The Chinese star just couldn’t find the court against the feeble swipes of Sara Errani and produced 52 unforced errors, leaving most observers dumbfounded as to what was going on.
Li revealed that she was unwell prior to the match and said that “the feeling is like after you’re drunk,” which would explain why she was missing shots that a child would be embarrassed by.
But there was little missing going on from Jelena Jankovic, who eased past Aga Radwanska to make my second bet of the day a winner and record a slight profit on the day.
Jelena Jankovic 1.54 vs Sara Errani 2.45 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 11.05
Surprisingly, this pair have met just twice on the WTA Tour, with one win apiece and this will be their first ever clash on the red dirt.
Both prior meetings came on hard courts and this is the kind of opponent that does tend to struggle against Errani – one that uses skills and tactics rather than just pure power.
I still find it stunning that Errani has been a top-10 ranked player (she will be again should she somehow win this title) with such a nothing serve that any half decent club pro could drive back at her for a winner nine times out of 10.
Indeed, it’s a sad indictment of the majority of the WTA pros that they seem to be incapable of performing that basic task, as Li was yesterday, although she was unwell.
That said, has Jankovic got the attacking mindset and the power to hit though Errani in these conditions?
She should do and I’d be amazed if Errani is allowed to get away with some of the feeble stuff she dished up against an out of sorts Li when she faces JJ.
Most of the time Li didn’t even get Errani’s bobbling little serves back into play, which is a crime of the highest order when faced with such a weak serve and surely JJ will be smart enough to not give Sara anything for free today – unless her pre-match pasta doesn’t agree with her, as happened to Li.
It’s a tough one to get right on the handicaps, so I’ll settle for the 1.54 on Jankovic.
Serena Williams 1.16 vs Ana Ivanovic 5.10 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 15.35
A Williams out for revenge – although I’m sure she’d say she isn’t – is a very dangerous opponent indeed and having taken Serena out of the Australian Open earlier this season in their last meeting Ivanovic might feel the retribution today.
The Serb had never so much as taken a set from the American in four prior meetings ahead of that Melbourne fourth round and this is the first time in their career series that they’ll meet on clay.
I said yesterday that Ivanovic’s match with Carla Suarez Navarro was a tough one to bet on and it proved so for Ana, who for whatever reason focused her attack on CSN’s backhand, which seemed an odd tactical choice to me.
It certainly made for a tough afternoon for the Serb, who eventually prevailed in three sets, but is it a fit Williams that she faces today?
Serena says she’s “still not 100%” after her injury last week and I’d probably go with the 5.10 on Ana here with a view to hedging on the in-play, but with some uncertainty around I’ll leave this one.
If Serena is fit she’s looked motivated all week and I’d expect her to win it in two, but at her age I don’t trust her fitness at short prices against an in-form opponent.
Back Jankovic to beat Errani at 1.54