AUSTRALIAN OPEN TENNIS
LADIES SEMI FINALS
LADIES SEMI FINALS
KIM CLIJSTERS - VERA ZVONAREVA
Kim is tough, but she admitted to feeling "tired and heavy" in her quarter final win overnight, she was wearing a leg bandage for "protection" and hit a lot of unforced errors. Her match was second on court also, meaning that she has less recovery time than her opponent and I do not think that the belgian superstar is at all suited by the lack of a rest day.
Now onto "Mad Vera" who seems to be putting the nickname behind her and is a lot calmer nowadays. She has benefitted from making the last two Grand Slam finals and whilst she lost both easily, as we have discussed in the past, there is a real progression to these things and unless you are a true superstar of the game, you normally have to lose one or two, before you learn how to win a major. The russian feels that she is a more "mature" player now and I certainly like her approach at this tournament, where she has purposely trained much less inbetween games and arrives here very fresh. She has won 3 of the last 4 meetings between the two players, including at Wimbledon last year, but lost the US Open final to Clijsters, however, this is not a final and given the physical and in some senses mental state that the two players come into the match, remember Clijsters is a very positive person but already seems to be, at least subconsiously, looking for excuses, Zvonareva is a very solid bet at the odds available. I will make her a 1.5 unit selection.
LI NA - CAROLINE WOZNIACKI
No bet for me in this match, I am keen on Li Na to progress, but see little value in the odds offered. The chinese player has yet to drop a set here and loves the conditions in Australia where she is 10-0 this season having won in Sydney and is in the semis for the second year running, losing a real close battle with eventual and five time winner Serena Williams in 2010. En route to that final four place, she beat Wozniacki in the third round in three sets and has won both of their "main" meetings, losing in two minor tournaments. Li Na is now ranked in the top ten, but is at least a top five player on her day and something of a late developer having taken a two year break from tennis to go to university, she is 28 yo but effectively a 25 yo in tennis terms if that makes sense ! She was greeted like an Olympic champion on her return home last year from Melbourne and with tennis getting massive in China, they will go mad if she can go one step further this time round. She admits to playing at around the "same level" as last year, which in my opinion is good enough to beat Wozniacki, but to also being "happier" and "enjoying her tennis more". If you have to have a bet, maybe Li Na in three sets ( circa 4.20) in a repeat of last year's result.
1.5 units Zvonareva to beat Clijsters 2.54 + exchanges