Tennis Picks: Women's US Open Semifinals Preview

Richard O'Hagan

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 2:14 PM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 2:14 PM GMT

It still seems to be Serena Williams versus the field as the women’s event heads into the semi-finals. Can anyone stop the World number one?


Serena Williams has had a largely untroubled passage into the women’s semifinals, a path which has included a victory in the third round over the next big American hope – and the woman who beat her the last time they met – Sloane Stephens. In fact, so easy has her route to the last eight – including a 6-0 6-0 win in round four - been that at odds of 1/2 with William Hill you’ll be making pennies on her taking a 5th US Open crown and nothing more.

Her opponent in the quarter finals, Carla Suarez Navarro, was no match for Williams and it seems that there are very few women left who could threaten her. One may be Victoria Azarenka, the second seed, but she has to first get past a resurgent Daniela Hantuchova.

Slovakian Hantuchova is thirty now and is playing her first Grand Slam quarterfinal in five years, but she looked to be in imperious form in round four, hitting a Williams-esque 15 aces in a three set victory.

Should she beat Hantuchova, Azarenka looks to have a much easier path to the final, with only tenth seed Roberta Vinci or the unseeded Flavia Panetta awaiting her in the semi-final. Neither of the Italians look like they would be a match for either Azarenka or indeed Hantuchova on current form.

Azarenka therefore looks like the best tennis pick in this side of the draw, currently at 11/4 with BetFred, but Betfair offer 16/1 on Hantuchova even making the final, which is worth a small amount of money if you like a long shot bet. It is worth remembering, too, that Azarenka and Hantuchova have met four times before in major tournaments and the record stands at two wins apiece. It is probably going to take Azarenka to play slightly below her best whilst Hantuchova maintains the high level of play that she has exhibited so far this fortnight for the Slovak to win, but one of the things we have seen on the women’s circuit this year is that even the very top seeds find it hard to keep going throughout a tournament, which is why Williams’ consistency this time around has been slightly surprising.

Williams’ semifinal opponent is Li Na, the fifth seed from China. Li has been impressive throughout not only this tournament but also the 2013 season, turning in feisty performances which often go under the radar. That is great news for betting folk, because it means that her betting odds tend to be a lot longer than they ought to be and this is indeed the case here. Li is third favourite to win the US Open, but her odds are now out at up to 12/1 with YouWin. That does, of course, also reflect the fact that she has to play Williams, but if anyone can beat Williams it is Li. If she can handle the Williams serve she will be in with a great chance and the very short odds on a Williams win make her an attractive sports betting prospect and possibly the best chance of making some money in this competition now.

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