Caroline Wozniacki- Svetlana Kuznetsova
World number 10 playing number 75, but forget those rankings, if we could be 100% certain that both would play at their career best today, we could take out a loan, bet it on the Russian ,go and stand in the payout line and wait for the official
SK had reconstructive surgery on her knee last summer and has not played since Wimbledon, only one match there, so effectively not since Roland Garros. I thought we might not see her again, but she looks to have recovered and played well in Sydney where he posted five wins and beat Wozniacki in three sets. It has always taken a good player to beat her here and also one determined to battle it out, Kuzzy lost to Lisicki in 3 sets last year in R3, to Schiavone 16-14 in their R4 decider in 2011, to Petrova in three (R4) the year before and in a close three set quarter to Serena in 2009.
Kuzzy is 3-4 lifetime on hardcourts with Woxniacki, the Dane has won both grand slam meetings which came in New York, but all were very close, each went to three sets with four of those sets going to at least 12 games, including three tie breaks. Both are serving well enough here and with that history, it hard not to see this meeting going “over” in terms of games, the line is set at 21.5 and one tie break could see that number passed even in two sets. 1.25 units “Over” 21.5 games 1.926 Pinnacle Sports / Ibramarket.
With a couple of exceptions Russian females have the perfect temperament for tennis in my opinion and Maria Kirilenko will not come into this match with the same defeatist attitude that so many players do, facing the huge weapons of Serena, no double entendre intended ! Serena holds a 5-0 h2h advantage, but the last meeting which came on Stanford hardcourts went the distance and as we discussed last summer and made money from, if you can just hold in long enough against the younger Williams sister, she will give you chances, but to hang on in there you need to be mentally as well as physically tough. However, I have seen a few pointers to give Kirilenko/ us hope here, she has yet to drop a set, but more impressively has only given up 13 break points and she is capable of getting a few cheap points, even against Serena.
Also, the American superstar turned her ankle earlier in the tournament and whilst it is a minor concern, she did seem to favour it slightly in the last round. But the main glimmer of hope comes when looking at her record here in recent years from Round 4 onwards. Conditions here are always tough, so it makes sense that energy levels and intensity will drop during the tournament, in 13 matches here since 2009 at the R4 stage and beyond, she has given up at least six games in 12, only giving up fewer in her final with Dinara Safina, who didn’t really leave the changing room ! In six of those matches she lost at least 12 games and we are talking about a four year period during which she made three finals and won two titles. Therefore, we can expect her to be just a little more vunerable from here on in, weather has been brutal in Melbourne, with the city posting it’s hottest ever day (45.3 degrees) this week, it will take a toll somewhere. We are looking for Kirilenko to take six games to win this bet, five to get our money back, it would have won in 12 of Serena’s last 13 matches here from this round onwards, so I cannot let it pass. 1.5 units “over” 17 games 2.09 Pinnacle Sports/ Ibramarket.
Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur- Manchester United
This is another match between two of the EPL big clubs and again, despite the weather, goals look on the cards. United have a fearsome record in this fixture and have not lost at White Hart Lane since Giggs and Scholes were going to school in short trousers, recently they are 7-3-0 in their last ten visits. City closed the lead at the top of the table to four points yesterday and with United still to play their cross town rivals and mindful of how things worked out last season, they and Sir Alex will be keen to extend that advantage back to seven points . Also he would like to be able to concentrate fully on the two Champions League games with Real Madrid which are now just a few weeks away and look to rest a few key players for the PL fixtures either side. To say nothing of a little revenge for Tottenham’s 3-2 win at Old Trafford in September, they are 18-1-1 since the previous defeat on home soil in the league and Sir Alex will want to put right that loss . I almost never back United, but do Ok when we do and have to say they look to offer value at the level ball quote. 1.5 units Manchester United level ball 1.82 asian line.