WTA Tennis Betting: Sharapova set for serious struggle against Safarova

We’re into the third round stage of the 2014 WTA Sony Open in Key Biscayne and there are eight matches in play at Crandon Park on Saturday.

We managed to come away from a peculiar day of results on Friday with a profit after Barbora Zahlavova Strycova edged past Roberta Vinci for an odds-against winner and the overs was then covered by Elina Svitolina and Eugenie Bouchard.

Andrea Petkovic survived match points against Alizé Cornet in set two of their match, but fell in the decider on a day where Simona Halep withdrew from the tournament and Jelena Jankovic and Garbine Muguruza both were beaten in what would have been incredibly frustrating circumstances had you backed either.

JJ threw away a 5-1 lead in the decider of her match with Varvara Lepchenko, while Garbi did something very similar against Ajla Tomljanovic.

Halep proved once more that her fitness can rarely be taken on trust by revealing she had an operation on her toe ahead of this tournament, while Alisa Kleybanova also withdrew.


Sara Errani 2.06 vs Ekaterina Makarova 1.73

This 15.00 UK time clash between the petite Italian and the Russian leftie looks another decent opportunity to take on the fading Errani.

Having made the top-10 against all the odds with a powder puff game that any decent club player would be disappointed to lose to on a hard court, Errani is starting to struggle to hold that elevated ranking and away from clay she looks very beatable.

Errani has been beaten as a 1.29, 1.27, 1.18 and 1.42 favourite already this season and any opponent with a bit of power in their game must be in with a huge chance against the scurrying defender across the net.

Granted, conditions here in Miami are about the best that she could hope for on a hard court, but they were at Indian Wells too and she was despatched easily by Bouchard there.

It’s likely that Errani will be out of the top-10 by the end of this tournament and she could be overtaken in the rankings by fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta – a situation that seemed implausible last season.

Makarova had a very comfortable day in her opening match here against inexperienced Swede Rebecca Peterson and this will be tougher by far, but Kate was a comfortable enough winner the last time she met Errani on a hard court in New Haven last season and should be again today.


Kirsten Flipkens 2.33 vs Sabine Lisicki 1.58

The Wimbledon finalist looks rather on the short side for me here at 1.58 against the very capable Belgian, who was a quarter-finalist here last year – something that Lisicki is yet to achieve in Miami.

The slow courts here are likely to favour the all-court game of Flipper, who beat Petra Kvitova at Crandon Park 12 months ago before losing a tight one to Aga Radwanska and I see no reason why she can’t make Sabine work very hard for the win today.

Lisicki hasn’t won two straight matches all season so far after shoulder problems and this one has the feel of a three-setter about it to me.

Flipkens +1.5 sets at 1.52 looks solid and the over 21.5 total games looks likely too at 1.94.


Maria Sharapova 1.25 vs Lucie Safarova 3.70 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 20.35

Despite her great record here of 30 wins and eight losses Sharapova looks vulnerable at the moment and describes herself as “a work in progress” after injury.

The Russian was able to overcome the tenacious but limited Karumi Nara in round one here, but it was far from a stroll and this should be a real test for Maria against an opponent with more to worry her than was offered by Nara.

Safarova has played Sharapova tough before, with one win and two tight defeats from their three previous clashes and the Czech is more than capable of getting over the line here with a 4.5 game start on the handicap and quite possibly without it.

The Russian’s confidence can’t be high after losing to Camila Giorgi at Indian Wells and by the sounds of things she doesn’t expect too much from herself just at the moment.


Best Bets

Back Makarova to beat Errani at 1.73

Back over 21.5 games in Lisicki/Flipkens at 1.94

Back Safarova +4.5 games to beat Sharapova at 1.85