Seven-time champion Serena Williams continued her quest for a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 win over world No.1 Simona Halep on Monday night. Known as one of the greatest competitors in sports history, Serena proved she still has what it takes to produce her best under pressure. The 37-year-old saved three break points for 3-3 in the decider and won four of the last five games in the match. Adding to this, Williams ended the contest with nine aces, 44 winners and saved four of the seven break points she faced.
Serena will next face former world No.1 Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. The 26-year-old Czech remains undefeated in 2019 after winning the Brisbane International in the first week of the season. Pliskova eased past two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 6-1 at Margaret Court Arena in precisely one hour. The No.7 seed produced a near-flawless display to beat Muguruza in the previous round with 23 winners to just 3 unforced errors.
These two players will face each other for the fourth time in their careers with Serena winning two of their three previous encounters on the WTA Tour.
Looking now at the odds for this contest, Williams is the clear favorite at -278 with Intertops while 5Dimes offers +245 for Karolina to win. Both players enjoy the fast court conditions at Melbourne Park and although we understand Serena’s price, it’s impossible to find any value on her current tennis betting odds. Pliskova is a very dangerous player for any women to play and Pinnacle offers an interesting line for the Czech to win at least one set with the +1.5 Set Handicap at -101. On the other hand, the Over 21.5 at -111 with Bet365 is also an interesting approach in a match between two of the best servers in tennis history.
Kei Nishikori recovered from two sets down to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open with an epic 6-7(8), 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 7-6(8) win over Pablo Carreno Busta. The 29-year-old Japanese is into the last eight at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2016. Nishikori has now spent 13 hours and 47 minutes on court in Melbourne and will try his best to recover from a five-hour battle with Carreno Busta in the fourth round.
Nishikori returns to action this Wednesday against Novak Djokovic for a place in the semifinals of the Australian Open. The 14-time Grand Slam champion advanced to the quarterfinals in Melbourne Park with a four-set victory against Daniil Medvedev in three hours and 15 minutes. Djokovic was not at his fluent best but looked particularly strong on pressure points, saving seven of the nine break points he faced against Medvedev.
This will be the 18th official meeting between these two players. Djokovic leads 15-2 on their head-to-head with the Serbian winning also the last 14 encounters against Nishikori.
The sportsbooks are expecting a straightforward win from Djokovic with the world No.1 as the heavy favorite at -909 with 5Dimes. In addition to Novak’s lead on the head-to-head, Nishikori only won three sets in the last 11 encounters against the Serbian. On the other hand, the Japanese superstar will have a difficult task to recover from such a demanding match against Carreno Busta. With this in mind, betting on the Serbian to win in straight sets is an interesting option, as well as taking the –7 spread at -125 with Pinnacle.