So there are four women left in the French Open and Thursday will see them whittled down to two. William Hill's Lee Phelps is here to tell you which two in his free betting picks.
It’s semifinal day for the women at the French Open with Serena Williams facing Timea Bacsinszky and Ana Ivanovic versus Lucie Safarova for a place in Saturday’s final.
Serena Williams vs. Timea Bacsinszky
The world number one made shorter work of Sara Errani than I predicted and there was no sign of that dropped first set, losing just four games on the way to victory.
Her last four opponent had a tougher day on court and a good workout against Alison Van Uytvanck, which no doubt she will need with a much tougher task facing her here. She knows what she is up against, having played Williams twice before and losing on both occasions.
It’s fair to say this will be the best Bacsinszky Serena has faced and if she isn’t on her best form, there could be another upset. I’m not sure I can go as far tipping the Swiss player at 5.0 (4/1) tennis odds.
What I can look at though is her taking a set. Her first serve was firing against her Belgian opponent with a 76% success rate, paired with winning 67% of her second serve points too.
There is a great article on Bacsinszky on www.grantland.com by Louisa Thomas that included this paragraph summarising the player: “Bacsinszky has always liked the drop shot — maybe a little too much. She has nice touch, but no genius for it; she sometimes leaves those balls sitting up. But the drop shot seems to appeal to her. It’s unpredictable, and it puts the point in her hands. She’d once hit a drop shot off Serena Williams’s second serve — twice in a row. Serena responded with an ace and a glare. Bacsinsky laughed when she recalled it earlier this year. “But I loved this,” she said, remembering. “I loved this reality of trying to get control of the other.”
Maybe we will see more of that, either way I’m backing her to win a set at 2.62 (13/8) with my tennis picks.
Tennis Picks: Bacsinszky to win a set 2.62 (13/8)
Ana Ivanovic vs. Lucie Safarova
Can the former champ emulate what she did in 2008 and go all the way in Paris? First she must get past Maria Sharapova’s victor.
She has managed to avoid both Simona Halep and Sharapova with both falling unexpectedly. Now she faces the Czech player who has also beaten Lisicki and Muguruza and has a winning record in their head-to-heads.
The two of them have history on these clay courts too, meeting twice in the French. Last year Safarova won, but back in 2008 on her way to that debut slam win it was Ivanovic who triumphed and I sense that course and distance form may just give her the edge in a tight match.
It’s interesting to look at the head to head record and see only two of their eight matches going past two sets, with half of them featuring under 18 games. However, both players are firing in this tournament and I’m backing three sets in the match, with Ivanovic coming out on top.
Tennis Picks: Three sets in the match 2.15 (23/20) at William Hill