Australian Open 2015 – Second Men’s Semi Final

08:30 – Djokovic v Wawrinka

They are playing for the right to play Murray in the final.

They have completed 3 main draw matches at grand slams. All 3 went to a fifth set. Two of those matches were in the Australian Open over the last 2 seasons.djoko11

Wawrinka has beaten Djokovic just 3 times in their 22 meetings. His last win was in last year’s quarter final.

In the 3 slam matches the winner of the opening set lost the match and the other player took the second set.

Wawrinka stepped up several levels in his last match against Nishikori. If he can maintain that level this should be another great match.

Djokovic hasn’t dropped a set in his 5 matches. Verdasco and Muller kept all their sets close. Raonic managed it for 2 sets but was easily beaten in the third.

Both players have a strong back hand. Wawrinka’s one handed back hand was superb against Nishikori although Kei was putting his returns just where Stan needed them to wind up that back hand.

waw15Djokovic’s two handed back hand is arguably the best on tour although Murray is a close second.

At their best they are closely matched but Djokovic is more likely to play the big points well. He starts at 1.25 and if the pattern of the first set winner losing the match continues and I expect Djokovic to take the match then we need to be laying him at the start.

Back Djokovic if Wawrinka takes the opening set.

 

 

 

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Australian Open 2015 – Women’s Semi Finals

Makarova v Sharapova

Head to heads are 5-0 to Sharapova and Makarova has only managed to win one set from her. That was in their first meeting in 2011. They haven’t played since 2013 and it is only in recent months that Makarova has added consistency to the strong serve and ground strokes that promised so much in the past.

Makarova has won all 5 of her matches in straight sets.She won the second set against Halep 6-0. She played some exceptional tennis but Halep was not herself.

Sharapova has dropped just one set which was to Panova in round 2. Apart from that set she has looked very solid and even her serve has been pretty reliable.

Sharapova starts at 1.24 but Makarova has the game and self belief that comes from being a top 10 player and I think she can make a real match of this.

Lay Sharapova when she is an early break ahead. If Makarova should break first I will back Sharapova with part stake and add the rest after she holds.

I have to go with Sharapova to get the win.

 

 

Serena Williams v Keys

This is their first meeting

Keys has a thigh injury but still seemed to be moving fine against Venus. Serena has been struggling with a cold. She put everything into her match with Cibulkova who she perhaps saw as one of her biggest threats. There’s a chance Serena could be low on energy at least for 1 set.

Is Serena out for revenge for Venus’ loss to Keys in the quarter finals? This is a slam semi final and I’m sure she doesn’t need any more motivation than that. How she approaches the match depends on how she is feeling. If she still feels ill she may save her energy for a late break of serve in each set

I expect Serena to win as she has an amazing record in slam semi finals but Keys showed in the last match she can handle to big occasion.

 

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Australian Open 2015 – week 2, day 3

The Keys v Venus and Wawrinka v Nishikori matches have been covered for the Shark Tips service

 

WTA. 01:30 – S Williams v Cibulkova

Last year’s finalist, Cibulkova, had an excellent week last week. She beat Cornet in the third round and then Azarenka in the 4th. So she has limited the damage to her ranking points. Reaching the semi final would naturally be a lot better but the world number one stands in her way.

Serena has lost the opening set in her last 2 matches. Neither Svitolina or Muguruza were able to finish the job despite Serena suffering with a cold. Is she over it? We won’t know until the match starts.

Cibulkova’s ground strokes have been excellent and if Serena struggles from the service line then she could be punished.

Of course if Serena is sharp from the start she can win this in straight sets but another 3 setter looks more likely. Three of their 4 matches were in 2013 Cibulkova has managed to take a set just once which was on a hard courts in Miami. For some reason  Cibulkova has been able to lift her game in Melbourne for the last 2 seasons and I’d say if she is going to beat Serena for the first time then the Australian Open looks the most likely venue.

I think Cibulkova can take this close and it would be great to see her go through.

Serena starts at 1.23 and I’d be surprised if we don’t see that a fair bit higher.

 

 

ATP, 08:30 – Djokovic v Raonic

Djokovic has won all 4 of their previous meetings. Raonic has managed just 1 set in those 4 matches which was on clay last season.

Djokovic looks like he is in top form but then Raonic has improved his game over the last 18 months. He now has more of an all round style rather than just being a big server.

Djokovic hasn’t lost a set so far. Raonic’s first 3 matches were over in 3 sets but he needed 5 sets to beat Lopez in the 4th round.

Djokovic starts at 1.15 which certainly isn’t a backing price. We could lay and hope Djokovic makes a slow start and gives us a better entry. the trouble is that as it’s best of 5 he would need to be a set and a break up before we got anything worthwhile.

I will watch the opening set and hope Raonic can push it higher for us. I am not too hopeful!

 

 

 

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