The Women’s Sony Ericsson Open moves to the forefront of tennis betting markets this week as the Williams sisters return to action. Predictably, sports betting exchanges have it Serena’s tournament to win or lose. Find out what our verdict is complete with our tennis free picks.
in on Serena
Immediately, the complexion of the tennis betting markets change with the
advent of the Williams sisters, namely Serena Williams, widely accepted as the
greatest female player of all time. Last week’s Indian Wells was held a wide-open affair in the absence
of the siblings. And so it proved to be with Flavia Pennetta claiming the
crown, marking the biggest title victory in her career.
The Sony Ericsson Open is expected to be
different – fall more to plan than Indian Wells, so to speak. This doesn’t mean
there won’t be surprises or upsets along the way rather that the top favourites
– with a caveat: for the most part – would punch at their weight class.
Serena Williams leads the charge in Key
Biscane at fancied odds of +110 to win
outright at Bet365, which in her case is good tennis betting value. After
all, the American starlet and World No.1 player is the defending champion and
six-time champion in Miami. Last year, she beat Maria Sharapova in a three-set
The season got off to an auspicious start
for Serena with a victory in Brisbane beating Petkovic, Cibulkova, Sharapova
and Azarenka en route to her 58th overall career title. Since then
however she’s tapered off a bit. Earlier than expected losses in both Melbourne
and Dubai to players she typically dominates
– Ivanovic in the R16 Australian Open and Cornet in Dubai quarterfinals
– have raised question marks in tennis
betting circles. They even offer up hope and belief to some of her threats
in Miami this week, a tangible reason to fancy their chances against her. That they’ve
not come at the price of her standard market estimation however is telling.
Clearly, despite her recent waffles, she’s expected to lift her form back to
its lofty standards.
Serena’s quarter is stacked with some
decent threats in Yaroslava Shvedova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Samantha Stosur
(+10000) and Ekaterina Makarova (+15000), to name a few, while top threat
Angelique Kerber looms dangerously as a potential quarterfinal opponent at
+3300 to win the tournament outright. But as each of their hefty price tags
would indicate they are long shots for the title, let alone to beat Serena
should the occasion to do so present itself. Simply put, they are too inconsistent.
Maria Sharapova falls into the same half of
the draw as Serena Williams and as the runner-up last year she presents an
intriguing prospect. That said her early exit in Indian Wells has seen her
stock diminish this week to +1000
futures odds across most tennis odds platforms. Her shoulder injury is still a
question mark and her draw is no picnic with Flavia Pennetta (+3300), Petra
Kvitova (+4000) and Ana Ivanovic (+4000) all looming on the horizon. Still,
Sharapova is a competitor and proven champion, second only to Serena when it
comes to intensity and heart. Never discount the Russian starlet.
Li Na enters the Sony Ericsson Open betting
markets as the second favourite to win
outright at +500. The Australian Open champion came very close to backing
up her Grand Slam success with another major title in Indian Wells only to fall
to Flavia Penneta in the penultimate round, an upset that upset many of her
backers, especially as it really was her title to win or lose at that juncture
of the tournament.
In any event, good form makes her smart
money in Miami. On the flipside, she does have a tricky draw to negotiate,
beginning with big hitting Kleybanova followed by a potential third round
against American hopeful Madison Keys or Slovak veteran Daniela Hantuchova.
Further down the draw, she could face Sloane Stephens, who is flush off a
quarterfinal appearance in Indian Wells, and is dubbed as a dangerous floater
at +3300 futures betting odds at Bet365, not to mention in form Jankovic in the
Simona Halep rings in as the third
favourite to win the title at +800 tennis-betting futures, largely down to her
commendable rise through the ranks and her semi-final finish in the Californian
desert (lost to Radwanska). But in spite of all she’s accomplished last year
and at the start of this season, Halep cuts a soft favourite in Miami and she
will be hard pressed to negotiate a similar run. Mark these words: she won’t go so far in Miami, let alone win the title.
Let’s look at Halep’s season so far
closely, just for the sake of underlining the above last statement. In reaching
the Australian Open quarterfinals, she went through three players ranked
outside of the top 100. There was a ‘notable’ victory was over eighth seed
Jankovic in three sets, albeit an injured Jankovic that wasn’t able to win a
game in the third set. Her title- winning run in Doha was a solid. She did beat
three top ten threats but as far as “threats” go she couldn’t have asked for a
better triplet than that of Errani, Radwanska and Kerber. Errani is slowly
fading and losing confidence while Radwanska and Kerber both match up well
against Halep and don’t have the weapons to blow her off the court. Finally, in
Indian Wells, Halep, once again, came up against questionable opponents in
No.47 Nara, inconsistent No.28 Safarova, inexperienced young gun No.19 Eugenie
Bouchard and qualifier Casey Dellacqua
before losing to Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals.
By contrast, this week her quarter is
riddled with big hitters such as Venus Williams, Andrea Petkovic and Dominika
Cibulkova in the early rounds, players whose power can give her lots of difficulty.
Dubai champion Venus Williams (listed at +1600) is a potential third round
opponent and looms most dangerous with home ground advantage, good form and one
of the biggest serves in the women’s game. Should Halep get past any of these
obstacles (and that is a big if), down the stretch she could face Eugenie Bouchard or Agnieszka Radwanska, amongst
several others, not to mention any one of the many standout options of the Li
Na quarter in the semis.
Tennis Betting Verdict: Undoubtedly, this
is Serena’s tournament to win or lose and one has to like her tennis odds to
win it all. As such, she is our top
tennis free pick at her attractive +110 price tag. Li Na and Maria
Sharapova are good prospects but they could become victims of their own draws
for different reasons: the former might be knackered after Indian Wells and the
latter has injury concerns. Simona Halep meanwhile presents the least striking
pose of the top four favourites because her draw looks insurmountable at the
moment; getting past Venus Williams her biggest test. Best outside tennis picks – Jankovic (+2000) and Stephens (+3300) to emerge into finals.
Serena Williams at +110