Agnieszka Radwanska takes on giant-slayer Sabine Lisicki
World No.4 Agnieszka Radwanska, the highest seed still alive in the draw and last year’s runner-up, is set to collide with Sabine Lisicki in the semifinals, the big-hitting German who upended tournament favourite Serena Williams in the R16. Strictly speaking, given that Radwanska is ranked better than Lisicki is, was the finalist here last year – pushed Serena to three sets she did – and, one might add, is the more consistent player of the two, you’d think she’d be tipped as the tennis betting favourite. Well, she isn’t. That honour goes to the World No.24 Lisicki. Bet365 has her tipped as the -175 favourite over Poland’s No.1, who is listed at +138. That slant is taken a step further in the outright win market (to win the title that is) with Lisicki tipped ahead of the field at +120 to win outright followed by Radwanska at +250 (the second odds makers favourite).
The market cast begs the question: do the tennis odds makers have it right or are they putting too much stock into Lisicki’s win over Serena Williams?
Review our picks from the Wimbledon Womens Quarterfinals.
Well, to a certain extent you could say they are overrating Lisicki in this match. This doesn’t mean she’s not worthy of her favourite status but to be favoured at the expense of Radwanska – last year’s finalist….does seem rather disingenuous. When power meets finesse, odds makers do have a tendency to persist with the former especially on a fast court. Traditionally, grass courts played the fastest, and that favoured big servers who were twinkle toed and could keep points short whether through volleys or just a ‘killer blow.’ Wimbledon has been slowed down though (a much publicised fact) over the years to the point now that we now see more baseline rallies than previously. We’ve also witnessed counterpunchers and baseliners win the title such as Hewitt, Nadal and Djokovic to name a few.
What Radwanska lacks in power, she more than makes up for in finesse and an attacking-minded approach. She has more variety than most lasses in the game who prefer to just whack at the ball (those of the see ball-hit ball mentality, so to speak). She constructs points beautifully, like a chess player whose first move is so deliberate as to set the tone for the rest of the game. Andy Murray recently singled her out as a player he prefers to watch in the women’s game. Few players are like her and that uniqueness in her game is very well suited for grass. So don’t go discounting her because the odds are stacked against her here. Remember, she did beat Li Na in the quarters – another power player – and she did it as the underdog as well.
Radwanska and Lisicki are level 1-1 head-to-head lifetime, both matches coming on a hard court. Lisicki won their first encounter 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2 at Stanford in 2011. A year later, Radwanska drew level in Dubai with a convincing 6-2, 6-1 victory.
Tennis Free Pick: Radwanska to win in three sets
Marion Bartoli takes on long shot Kirsten Flipkens
Marion Bartoli and Kirsten Flipkens are set to decide a spot in the semifinal. In what is the pair’s first-ever meeting, odds makers favour Bartoli to win this match at -150 at Bet365 as well they tip her as the third favourite to win the Wimbledon title at +400. Flipkens, on the other hand, is the underdog at +120 to win the match and she’s the long shot of the bunch at +650 to win the title.
Here we have another matchup between a power player and an attacking-minded finesse player with the odds makers once again preferring to lean towards the former. What makes this matchup different though is Flipkens lack of experience deep into a grand slam and that’s why this time the power player does appear to be the correct pick. Moreover, prior to Flipkens run at this Wimbledon, she’s barely gone two rounds in the main draw of a major and that is only when she actually qualifies (by ranking or through qualification) for the event because she’s never been a consistent presence at majors over her career.
Bartoli has seen into a grand slam final – albeit once and six years ago no less – and, more importantly perhaps, it happened at the All England Club after she beat one of the tournament favourites at the time Justine Henin in the semis. Since that memorable 2007 Wimbledon run Bartoli’s career (and weight) fluctuated, never hitting a steady mark and last year she shockingly made the decision to split with her longtime coach, her father. A move nobody would have predicted.
What makes Bartoli a good pick here is the fact that she is one of the most dangerous players when she’s on. An unconventional player, she can unnerve the best of her opponents. It’s difficult to play her. She’s gone through the tournament without dropping a set. She has this air about her – it’s as if she’s in this zone. Flipkens of course can win here too theoretically but when this is such new territory for her, maybe the occasion will prove to be too big.Tennis Free Picks: Bartoli in straight sets