The final of the WTA Sony Open is the featured match of the day at the Crandon Park Tennis Centre in Key Biscayne on Saturday.
After both of my best bets were winners in the semi-finals on Thursday when Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova in fewer than the unders mark and Na Li was a winner over Domi Cibulkova in far more than the overs total, the top two ranked players in the world meet for the title today.
Serena Williams 1.22 vs Na Li 4.10 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 17.05
This is a repeat of the quarter-final at this venue 12 months ago when Serena emerged as a 6-3, 7-6 victor and the starting prices are almost exactly the same as those from a year ago.
Williams is a 1.22 favourite based on her 10-1 career series lead over the Chinese player, of which the American has won the last nine straight dating back to another win here in Miami in 2009.
Serena also has a superb record here to call upon and she’s into the championship match at the Sony Open for the eighth time, where she has been a winner on six on those occasions so far.
It hasn’t always been plain sailing for Serena in those finals though – far from it – with only the 2004 win over Elena Dementieva being what one would regard as straightforward. Four of her other five titles here were won in three sets.
She had to come from behind to defeat Sharapova in the semi-final here this week and Li certainly has enough in her game to cause Williams problems even if the most likely outcome is another title for the world number one.
Conditions haven’t been the best for producing top quality tennis in recent days in Key Biscayne and that has been a big factor in the scratchy performances we’ve seen from both players, and Li in particular had to fight hard to overturn a final set deficit before getting the better of Cibulkova on Thursday.
The forecast is for a calmer day on Saturday and hopefully we will see the best from this talented pair and the lack of strong gusts can only help Li’s cause, as she is the more likely of the two to become frustrated if it does get windy.
It’s hard to see Li winning, given the way their previous meetings have gone, but I don’t think we’re seeing peak Serena at the moment and this one has the feel of more of a battling win about it. The fact that Li won the Australian Open may just give that bit more belief too.
The over 20.5 total games does stand out as a good bet here at around 1.87 and I wouldn’t rule out the Li set one win at 3.35 either, but I don’t see her winning this title at a tournament Serena clearly loves.
Back over 20.5 total games at 1.87