Picks – Serena and Sharapova on collision course in the Madrid Open Final
Only a win separates them from a potential showdown on Sunday. Will the pair come through for the tennis betting faithful's sports picks?
The semi-final matchups
Serena Williams vs. Sara Errani
Match Preview: Serena Williams enters the semi-final clash with Sara Errani as the overwhelming favourite but for the first time this week her odds are in the triple digits rather than quadruple digits or more; tipped at -500 at William Hill to beat Errani, it’s a significant drop from her price tag of -3300 in the quarterfinals and marks the first opportunity where tennis bettors can enjoy some quantifiable value.
This trend is typical of Serena in a tournament. Her odds will start at incredible highs in the earlier rounds only to come down to earth in the later rounds, and especially when/if she comes up against a solid opponent as happens to be the case here.
Sara Errani is last year’s French Open finalist, a run that propelled her into the spotlight and saw her fell Ivanovic and Kuznetsova (two former French Open champions) as well as Angelique Kerber and former French Open finalist Samantha Stosur before finally succumbing to Maria Sharapova.
Now Sara Errani trails 0-4 lifetime against Serena Williams but her value as the quintessential clay-court specialist is undeniable. As such, her rather tempting +333 tennis betting odds to mastermind the upset are rather tempting.
It’s a long shot, make no mistake. Few actually believe Errani will mastermind the upset. But if you are so inclined, you could do no worse than back a player of her clay-court caliber. She is a top ten player right now and on form with a 25-11 mark on the season and a title in Acapulco and a runner-up finish in Dubai. Notable wins on the season include wins over Ana Ivanovic, Nadia Petrova and Marion Bartoli, to name a few. Question is can she add the illustrious Serena to that list?
Tennis Free Picks: Serena Williams in three sets
Also take a look at my predictions & early odds for the Women's French Open.
Maria Sharapova vs. Ana Ivanovic
Match Preview: Despite a tough draw Maria Sharapova advances relatively unscathed into the semi-finals in Madrid according to expectations. Standing in her way of a spot in the semis is Ana Ivanovic, a former French Open champion and a crowd favourite wherever she goes.
As far as match betting goes, Sharapova is a strong -400 betting odds favourite to win outright while Ivanovic is listed at +275. This has everything to do with form and head-to-head, both of which tip the scale towards Sharapova. The Russian starlet entered the Madrid open with an impressive 23-3 mark on the season and two titles – Indian Wells and Stuttgart (clay). In fact, she’s enjoying an eight-match undefeated run going into the semis. Sharapova owns the 6-2 edge over Ivanovic, having won their last five meetings in a row, two of which were on clay and as recently as the Stuttgart quarterfinals.
Is it going to be sixth time lucky for Ivanovic? Certainly, tennis odds makers aren’t pricing her out of the market for the win; she’s not exactly a long shot with odds under +300 now is she? And it’s worthwhile to note that Ivanovic is playing better than she has in a long time. She seems more confident and focused. As well, she can draw inspiration from her last encounter against Sharapova in Stuttgart where she did take a set before succumbing in three. If you are so inclined, you could do no worse than back a former French Open champion who seems to be finding her way again. That said Sharapova looks too good.
Tennis Free Picks: Sharapova in three sets at Will Hill