10 Jan 2014 – 3am start!

So do we try to get some sleep before the matches? I’m not sure I’ll wake up if I try that. I might just watch a film instead.

The first match is at 3 and it is the first semi final in Hobart. Stosur is usually preparing for losing in the early rounds of the Australian Open but she has continued her slight improvement that she made in 2013 into this new season.

Her opponent is Zakopalova who has somehow survived this far. She seems to be able to drag her opponents down to her level but won’t find it easy to do the same tonight.

Stosur leads the head to heads 3-1 but their only recent match was in Moscow in 2012. Stosur won easily in 2 sets.

Zakopalova has played her best tennis this week in the opening sets so once again I think we will get a much better price on Stosur. Stosur starts at 1.36 but she has twice been taken to 3 sets this week.

Stosur to win in 2 tight sets or perhaps 3.

 

In Sydney Del Potro has needed 3 sets in each of his two matches. He has looked rusty but must surely now be in a position to play nearer the standard we expect from him.

4th seed Tursunov needed 3 sets to beat Rosol in his first match but a potentially tricky quarter final against Istomin saw him win in straight sets.

Del Potro won both their previous meetings although in their most recent in August last year they went to 3 sets.

I’m going with Del Potro to get the win but we’re getting to the stage where those players with a chance of doing well next week may not be busting a gut if matches go against them in the first set. I will wait for a higher entry price. That also gives us the chance to take a look at how high his intensity is. Not easy to tell with Del Potro though. He always looks like he has been hit with a tranquiliser gun but with too small a dose.

 

John Isner didn’t play the Australian Open last year so he would be well advised to make the most of his run this week. He should take as many points as he can in Auckland and not really worry about fatigue for the Australian Open. Anything he gets next week is a bonus.

He has played Bautista Agut just once before. That was in September last year and Isner won in 3 sets.

Bautista Agut has dropped just one set in his 3 matches and looked impressive against Jack Sock who had put out Tommy Haas in the previous round. Isner has had to play 3 sets in both his matches including 3 tie break sets against Kohlschreiber yesterday.

I think we will see a tight match but Isner’s serve looked better against Kohlschreiber than it had against Lacko. He has the edge for me but as ever I want a higher entry price than his SP of 1.45 .

 

Ferrer has also looked rusty this week and has been taken to 3 sets n both his matches including against Olympian Donald Young in the second round. Even so I don’t expect him to have too much trouble with Lu.

Lu has had injury problems already this season and got a little lucky yesterday as he was matched against Johnson who had played two matches the previous day due to rain delays.

Ferrer to win in 2.

 

In the second semi final in Hobart we have two Spanish qualifiers playing for a place in the final.

Muguruza is a strong favourite against Cabeza Candela but it is Cabeza Candela who leads the head to heads 2-1. Both her wins were on her favoured clay with Muguruza winning their most recent match on grass last June.

It’s hard to see anything other than a Muguruza win but her SP of 1.20 is a little crazy. Either lay her to trade out higher or simply wait for a higher price to back her. Ideally, get on her when she goes a break behind in the early games.

 

In Sydney the women are already at the final and it’s Kerber and Pironkova who will battle it out for the trophy.

Pironkova has earned herself a reputation as a player who is excellent on grass but disappointingly poor on all other surfaces so it a little surprising to see her in the final. Incredibly she is yet to lose a set and has knocked out Kvitova, Errani and Cirstea.

Head to heads are 1-1 and it was Pironkova who won their last match. That was in Doha in 2012 and was also on a hard court.

Kerber lost 2 of the 3 finals she reached in 2013 but did win the most recent one in LInz. This is Pironkova’s first main tour final.

I am going with a Kerber win in 3 sets.

 

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