Victoria Azarenka admits there is still much work to be done at the WTA Tour Championships after beating Li Na on Friday to set up a semi-final clash with Maria Sharapova (Sharapova 7/4, Azarenka 4/9 Match Prices with bet365).
The Belarusian star’s final group victory means that, whatever happens in the remaining matches in Istanbul, she will end the year as the world number one.
She was made to work hard by her Chinese opponent, taking the first set on a tie-break before running out a 7-6 6-3 winner, and afterwards said it was “a dream come true” to secure the top ranking going into 2013.
The 23-year-old will be back in action on Saturday with a match-up against the player she kept off the top of the standings.
She owns a 7-4 winning record against Sharapova and is favourite to reach the final, but it remains to be seen how much she has left in the tank after three tough group games.
Waiting in the final will probably be Serena Williams, who faces Agnieszka Radwanska in Saturday’s other semi-final and is an overwhelming favourite to down the Pole (Williams 1/10, Radwanska 6/1 Match Prices with bet365).
It would be easy for Azarenka to take it easy against Sharapova and bask in her achievements, but the Australian Open champion insists that there is still plenty of tennis to be played before she can reflect on what has happened in 2012.
“I just want to play my last matches of the year and then after that I can relax and enjoy this moment more,” she said.
“Right now I’m in competition and trying to focus on every single day – there’s still a lot of challenge in this tournament.”
Maria Sharapova insists she is looking forward to a break from tennis but not before giving it her all in the WTA Tour Championships (Sharapova 6/1 – Tournament Outright with bet365).
The 25-year-old went into the season-ending event as the world number two and she kicked off her campaign with an easy straight-sets victory over Italy’s Sara Errani.
She now faces Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska in her second White Group clash on Wednesday, and victory will put her in pole position to reach the semi-finals.
Radwanska pulled off a shock on day one, downing 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in straight sets, and so one of the stars will lose their unbeaten record when they do battle in Turkey (Sharapova 4/11, Radwanska 11/5 – Match Prices with bet365).
Sharapova has enjoyed an excellent season with a march to the final of the Australian Open before completing her set of Grand Slam titles with victory at Roland Garros.
The 2004 Wimbledon champion reached the final of the London Olympic tournament and semi-finals of the US Open before going down to Azarenka in the final of the China Open.
It has been a long season for the Florida resident but, while admitting she is relishing the prospect of putting down her racket for a while, Sharapova has made it clear she wants to take advantage of her physical fitness to end the year on a high.
“This is such a great feeling, not only to make it here but to feel good physically,” she said.
“When you’re out here and feeling good it’s such a big motivation, and it’s the last tournament of the year too, so while I’m going to enjoy some time off after this, right now it’s all business.”
Tags: agnieszka radwanska, Australian Open, maria sharapova, Petra Kvitova, sara errani, serena williams, tennis betting and odds, US Open, Wimbledon, wta tour championships odds
WTA | Tennis Betting News | October 24, 2012 08:58 |
Such is the confidence of Laura Robson right now that she believes she can win matches without playing at her best as she secured a second round meeting with Lourdes Dominguez Lino at the China Open (Robson 2/11, Dominguez 7/2 Match Betting with bet365).
The 18-year-old climbed up to 57th in the world with her appearance in the final at the Guangzhou Open last week before qualifying for this tournament on Saturday.
The British number one made a sluggish start to her first-round clash with veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm but started to crank it up with some big forehands to reel off five straight games to take the opening set, before controlling the second to book her progress with a 6-4 6-4 win.
Robson took an hour and 21 minutes to secure the win and insists she was more than happy to come through the contest without being at her best.
“I’m feeling confident when I play at the moment. Even when I’m not playing my best like I was today I still feel that I am able to win matches,” Robson told AFP.
“I was a double-break down in the first set and I knew I had to get a lot better and start moving my feet a bit more.
“She’s a tough opponent to play against because she hits the ball very low so you have to bend your legs a lot more than I like to.”
Robson is not expected to perish against Dominguez Lino (Robson 4/7 to win 2-0 Set Betting with bet365) but must guard against complacency after the Spaniard upset world number 16 Roberta Vinci 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.
Tags: bet on tennis, laura robson, laura robson odds, online tennis odds, Tennis, tennis bet, tennis bets online, tennis betting, tennis odds
Tennis, WTA | Tennis Betting News | September 30, 2012 13:43 |
Victoria Azarenka (4/1 US Open outright – bet365) is adamant she will be paying no attention to her poor record against Serena Williams ahead of their showdown in the 2012 Women’s US Open final on Sunday.
The 23-year-old star from Belarus booked her place in the final in the last Grand Slam of the year, after a gutsy 3-6 6-2 6-4 victory over the Russian Maria Sharapova.
Azarenka is now preparing to take on the tournament favourite Williams (1/6 US Open outright – bet365), who stormed past Sara Errani 6-1 6-2 to secure her place in the final, as she goes in search of her 15th Grand Slam title of her career.
Having only beaten the 30-year-old once in their previous 10 meetings, Azarenka is up against it in the Queens showpiece but she is confident she can cause an upset in New York City on Saturday.
She said: “Of course I’m not going to go on court thinking ‘I wish I could win more games than last time’.
“I always go to win a match and do the best I can. The result will depend on how I play and how my opponent plays.”
Serena Williams declared “I think I can be even better” when successfully defending her Stanford Classic title against compatriot Coco Vandweghe (Serena Williams 7/4 Olympics 2012 Women’s outright – bet365).
The American powerhouse survived an awkward first set to win her 43rd WTA Tour title – the same total as sister Venus – and 28th of her last 29 matches.
The 30-year-old said she was delighted to frank the form which saw her win a 14th Grand Slam at Wimbledon only recently but promised there was more to come.
“I’ve never felt this fit, this strong, this happy to play – and I think I can be even better,” she said.
Williams will now prepare for the start of London 2012′s tennis tournament at the All England Club on July 28 and admitted she had not yet peaked (Serena Williams 9/4 – 2012 US Open outright – bet365).
“I survived and didn’t play my greatest, but mentally I was there and that really helped me a lot,” she said.
“But there are a lot of positives and I was fighting and I didn’t quit.”
Tags: All England Club, Coco Vandweghe, london 2012 olympics, serena williams, tennis betting, tennis odds, US Open, venus williams, Wimbledon, WTA Tour
WTA | Tennis Betting News | July 16, 2012 15:03 |
Serena Williams insists she is not weighed down by the burden of expectation and that she can go out and enjoy herself against Victoria Azarenka because she has “nothing to lose” (Williams 4/7, Azarenka 11/8 Match Betting – bet365).
The American has been here many times before having won the Wimbledon title on four previous occasions, while she is bidding to book her place in a seventh final at SW19.
Williams is now the 11/10 favourite in the outright betting with bet365 but she insists she feels under no pressure against Azarenka (12/5) who has the advantage of having an ‘unbelievable’ year.
The Belarusian won her first Grand Slam tournament in Australia and has climbed to number two in the rankings, while Williams is trying to battle her way back to the top following injury problems.
“She’s playing unbelievable and already having a Grand Slam under her belt is really great. She did it in such style, so it’s not going to be easy if I play her,” Williams said.
“It’s going to be another match where I have absolutely nothing to lose. I can just go out there and enjoy myself and have fun.
“Right now if Victoria beats me, she’s had a better year than I have.
“Going against a player like that, I feel like she almost has an advantage. So that makes me really relaxed and I can just kind of hit.”
Williams does have history on her side having won seven of eight previous meetings, including the last five as well as a comfortable straight sets win in their only match on grass – 6-2 6-3 at Wimbledon in 2009.
Tags: match prices, number of points, outright winner, serena williams, set betting, total games, Victoria Azarenka, wimbledon 2012, WTA Tour
Tennis, Wimbledon, WTA | Tennis Betting News | July 5, 2012 10:15 |
Kim Clijsters (16/1 Tournament Outright – bet365) has been given a tough start to her Wimbledon farewell as she has been drawn to face fellow former world number one Jelena Jankovic in the first round.
The 29-year-old Belgian is set to retire from the sport at the end of the year so will have added motivation at the All England Club, particularly having sat out the French Open to ensure her fitness for both Wimbledon and the Olympics.
However, she has been paired in a marquee match-up against 2007 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles winner Jankovic in the first round.
Despite the Serbian’s slip down the rankings to number 20 in the world, she remains a dangerous opponent having made the final of the AEGON Classic in Birmingham last week.
World number one and 5/2 outright favourite with bet365, Maria Sharapova, will open her account against Australia’s Anastasia Rodionaova, while Angelique Kerber is a potential last-eight opponent.
Third seed Agnieska Radwanska and US Open champion Sam Stosur are set for a quarter-final showdown, providing the former overcomes the rather considerable obstacle of Venus Williams in the second round.
Meanwhile, defending champion Petra Kvitova will open up against Akgul Amanmuradova but is seeded to face bet365′s 3/1 outright second favourite Serena Williams in the last eight.
From a British viewpoint, Laura Robson – who was tipped to make an impact by Judy Murray – has been drawn against former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in the first round, while Anne Keothavong will take on Laura Pous-Tio.
Heather Watson tackles Iveta Benesova, Elena Baltacha faces Karin Knapp, Naomi Broady is paired with Lourdes Dominguez Lino and Johanna Konta has been handed the tough test of Christina McHale.
Tags: maria sharapova, match prices, most aces, number of games, outright winner, set betting, total points, wimbledon 2012
Tennis, Wimbledon, WTA | Tennis Betting News | June 22, 2012 12:27 |
World number one Victoria Azarenka has vowed to improve her record against Serena Williams after the pair won their respective semi-finals at the Madrid Open (Azarenka 11/8, Williams 4/7 Match Betting with bet365).
Azarenka enjoyed six breaks of serve as she made short work of Agnieszka Radwanska, winning 6-2 6-4 in just 79 minutes – the sixth time she has beaten the Pole this year.
Williams was given a little scare in the first set against Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka but after edging a tie-break to get in front, the American reeled off six successive games to improve her winning streak on clay to 12 matches.
Williams has won six of the seven meetings with Azarenka, including at last year’s US Open, but the Belarusian believes her game has come on a lot since then and is promising a different outcome.
The Australian Open champion, who lost last year’s Madrid Open final to Petra Kvitova, said: “I was much younger and just coming on the tour but I have always been competitive against her.
“It’s going to be a different story this time.”
Victoria Azarenka admits she is going all out to win the Madrid Masters this year as she prepares to face Andrea Hlavackova in the second round of the event on Tuesday (Azarenka 2-1 winner 8/1 – bet365).
The 22-year-old is currently enjoying the best form of her career and won the Australian Open earlier this year to claim her first Grand Slam and move to the top of the world rankings.
Further titles have followed but she was hammered by Maria Sharapova in the final of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix back in April.
The Belarusian kicked off her Madrid campaign with a hard-fought, straight-sets victory over 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.
She should be far too good for the world number 117 on Tuesday but knows that bigger things will lie in wait later in the tournament, with both Williams sisters in the Spanish capital.
But with the French Open now on the horizon, the Monte Carlo resident is eyeing glory in Madrid to prepare for Roland Garros (Azarenka 9/4 French Open Outright - bet365).
“I was really looking forward to the start of this tournament,” she said. “Anywhere I go my goal is to win the tournament, and it’s the same goal here.
“I did pretty well here last year and hopefully this year I’ll do a little bit better.”
Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki are also safely though to the second round of the event but former French Open winner Francesca Schiavone crashed out to qualifier Varvara Lepchenko.
Tags: Andrea Hlavackova, madrid masters, match prices, number of points, outright winner, set betting, total games, Victoria Azarenka, WTA Tour
Tennis, WTA | Tennis Betting News | May 7, 2012 16:30 |
Caroline Wozniacki is hoping to use her victory over Serena Williams as a springboard for success, as she prepares to face Maria Sharapova for a place in the Miami Masters final (Wozniacki 11/10, Sharapova 8/11 – Match Prices with bet365).
The Danish star had never beaten the 13-time Grand Slam winner in three previous meetings, but she put that right on Tuesday to send the American crashing out and advance to the last four of the Sony Ericsson Open.
Wozniacki was criticised for not having won a Grand Slam during her time as world number one and she did appear to falter against the top players in the world.
But she answered her critics in emphatic style in Florida with a 6-4 6-4 triumph to book her place in the semi-finals.
The 2009 US Open finalist was delighted with her performance and hopes that she can now push her game to an even higher level after overcoming the Williams’ hurdle.
“It definitely gives you confidence,” she said. “Hard work always pays off, so, you know, I just need to keep going, keep working hard and there’s always room for improvements.”
Sharapova looks in decent form after crushing French Open champion Li Na 6-3 6-0 and she will provide Wozniacki with a stiff examination (Sharapova 7/2 – Tournament Outright with bet365).
The Russian has won five and lost just two matches to Thursday’s opponent, but did lose to Wozniacki on a hard-court at Indian Wells last year.