Tuesday, June 30, 2009



We already have an interest in two of the matches today, with our outright bets on the Williams sisters to make the final and Venus to win outright, so no need to get involved in those match ups, I expect both to progress.

I think Francesca Schiavone, who did us a favour yesterday has a fighting chance against Elena Dementieva, these look two of the fittest girls on tour at present and there will be few cheap points. H2h is tied at 4-4 with the Italian girl winning three of the last four meetings, none have been on grass, but all came on fast courts.

Speaking of the courts, players seem unanimous in their opinion that the courts are very slow this year, yet big servers, especially in the women's game have been doing extremely well, which is something of a contadiction. Dementieva ran out a very comfortable winner yesterday, but all her old serving demons were there early in the first set, when she appeared nervous and even had trouble with the ball toss. Vesnina was not able to take advantage and allowed Dementieva to take control, of herself as much as the game.

Schiavone is a far more wily campaigner and might be able to take advantage of any such lapses today and keep the pressure on the Russian's serve. Having said that in the post match interview, Dementieva looked very relaxed and happy and was oozing confidence, so much so, that it has made me wary of opposing her, but there are far worse 4.0 shots than the Italian if you must bet on the game.

I will pass for the purposes of the email, but might consider betting Schiavone with the purposes of trading out later, there is a good chance she will be offered at much shorter odds during the course of the match.

That just leaves the Dinara Safina - Sabine Lisicki quarter final. The world number one is fortunate to be here, she was being given a tennis masterclass by Amelie Mauresmo for much of their fourth round match yesterday, when the frenchwoman appeared to know far too much for Safina, before imploding from 40-0 on her own serve , with five terrible points when already leading by a set and a break. Even then Mauresmo regrouped and had two points for a 5-3 lead in the third, with her serve to come, before the Russian found a way through.

Dinara claims to be coming to terms with the surface, but I am far from convinced about that and also that she has yet exorcised those French Open demons, which must still be giving her sleepless nights.

Today she faces a far less experienced opponent, but one who has brighten up the whole tournament by her delightful personality and big, big serving. Lisicki has long been touted as a future star and is starting to live up to that reputation and is looking for her third big scalp, after seeing off Kuznetsova and Wozniacki in the last two rounds. She has already beaten Safina in a grand slam event, knocking her out of the Australian Open last year, so she is unlikely to be overawed by the prospect of facing her again. The centre court appearance might be a problem, but with the roof off and very hot conditions, it will surely play fast again today, despite what the players say and suit her massive serve.

How big is it ? Well she recorded a high of 121mph against both Kuzzy and Wozzy and averaged around 109 mph in both games, Safina did not record a single serve over 106 mph in her match with Mauresmo. If she can remain at this level and continue winning circa 83% of first serve, she is going to be almost impossible to break. Lisicki has been hitting a very big forehand too and claims that since beating Kuznetsova her game has gone up a level, not just in the win over the world number 9 ranked dane Wozniacki, but in every practice session since, where she has been hitting the ball "unbelievably".

Confidence is a wonderful thing, so is a big serve and groundstrokes, if she can carry all three onto the centre court today and they are first on, so no sitting around and waiting, getting nervous, then I think she will give us a great run for our money.

5.5 points Lisiscki to beat Safina 3.05 + exchanges.

Good Luck.

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