Sportsbooks have already gone to press with tennis odds on the Aussie Open semis so join us as we breakdown the two intriguing matchups on the women’s front and deliver our verdict.
As we enter the penultimate round of Australian Open betting, a feeling of delightful surprise and excitement permeates the air because for the first time in almost two decades none of the top three (who also happened to be the top three betting favourites for the title) is through to the semis. World No. 1 Serena Williams and No.3 Maria Sharapova bowed out of the tournament in the R16 while two-time defending champion and No.2 Victoria Azarenka succumbed to the upset bug in the quarterfinals.
World No. 4 Li Na now leads the charge incidentally, our sentimental tennis pick to win it all at the start of the tournament as the -110 favourite to win the Australian Open title, while Agnieszka Radwanska follows closely at +188 for the title. Surprise semi-finalists Dominika Cibulkova and Eugenie Bouchard are listed at +750 and +850 respectively to win it all.
So who will reach the Australian Open finals? Join us as we breakdown the two intriguing matchups and deliver our tennis picks for your consideration.
Eugenie Bouchard vs. Li Na
Every once in awhile a surprise package emerges at the majors to sends seismic shockwaves through tennis betting circles. And so it is with the 2014 Australian Open as Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, seeded 30th in the draw, emerges into the semi-finals – her first major semi-final appearance – along with her personal Army (self-dubbed the Genie Army) of fans serenading her from match to match.
Bouchard seemingly defied the tennis odds to emerge out of Serena’s quarter but, fortuitously, the 19-year-old emerging star never had to face the great Serena. What’s more, she fell into a nice nook of this quarter where top seeds were dropping like flies in the heat through the rounds. No to take anything away from Bouchard or cast a cloud on the shining moment of her fledgling career, but the fact is she reached the quarters without facing a single top player. Ana Ivanovic, who did the hard graft and dismissed the odds-on favourite Serena Williams in the R16 was the first top player she came up against. And as far as top threats go, Ivanovic is hardly the toughest to overcome.
Ivanovic played the match of her life to beat Serena but a combination of injury (hip strain) and hangover that typically follows big wins saw Ivanovic fade away against Bouchard after winning the first set. Bouchard stepped up her game in the second set and came back to win the match in three in order to book her spot in the semis.
Next up for Bouchard is Li Na, former French Open champion and two-time Australian Open finalist. Naturally, Bouchard is listed as the underdog at + 350 to win outright at Bet365. She’ll have all to do to underscore her Cinderella run at the Australian Open at the expense of the veteran who has been working her way into form and looms threatening. Li Na, tipped as the solid favourite at -500 to win outright, came close to winning the tournament last year. Now with the path to the title going through an inexperienced young gun, she’ll certainly fancy her chances at another crack at the title/
Tennis Betting Verdict
Both Bouchard and Li Na are quintessential power players, not afraid to step in and take the ball early. Bouchard is particularly impressive with her attacking brand of tennis for one so young but in Li Na she’ll meet her match. As such, both present interesting prospects for the final. Bouchard can’t be underestimated and she should give Li Na a run for her money, making her a worthy underdog at +350 for the upset. At this stage of the tournament however experience usually decides matches and so, in our opinion, Li Na has to be the smart tennis pick.
Free Tennis Picks: Li Na to win outright at -500; Li Na to win first set and win match at -275
Dominika Cibulkova vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
Tennis Betting Analysis: The clash between Cibulkova and Radwanska is quite correctly tipped as a much closer affair with sportsbooks: Cibulkova listed at the +200 disadvantage and Radwanska tipped at the -250 advantage at Bet365. Both players are seasoned veterans of the game so neither has the decided edge on that score. Radwanska, however has reached a major final before (Wimbledon where she lost to Serena Williams in a sensational three-set marathon) and that might give her a slight edge over Cibulkova, who has been through to the semis of a major once (French Open) but never reached a final. What’s more both have scored big scalps over the course of their Oz campaigns: Cibulkova upset Maria Sharapova in the R16 while Radwanska took down two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka in the quarters. If the balance were to tip in favour of one or the other it would be their head-to-head record, which overwhelmingly favours Radwanska. The Polish star leads the series 5-1, which includes a 4-1 edge on hard courts. Last year, the pair met three times with Radwanska taking the 2-1 edge.
Tennis Betting Verdict: Theoretically this match could go either way given the high stakes involved. Cibulkova is a power player while Radwanska can do it all. She is all finesse with a touch of power play here and there. What this matchup will come down to is the mental game and in our opinion Radwanska, who is the more consistent player and has the solid h2h edge, has the advantage. As such, she is our recommended tennis pick to win outright.
Free Tennis Picks: Radwanska at -250 at Bet365 to win outright in three sets