Our tennis man Andy Schooler delivers his verdict on Thursday's Women's semi-finals.
1pt Simona Halep to beat Elena Rybakina 2-0 at 7/8 (Betway)
0.5pt Elena Rybakina to serve 10+ aces v Simona Halep at 4/1 (bet365)
It’s been a dream run for world number 103 Maria but one suspects the game might just be up.
The German has taken out the likes of Maria Sakkari and Jelena Ostapenko en route to this stage but it’s been hard work with four of her five matches going to a deciding set.
That will doubtless have taken some sort of toll on the 34-year-old, although at least these two have had a day off following their quarter-finals – unlike the players contesting the second semi.
I’m sure some of you will be prepared to dismiss potential fatigue but I do feel it’s a real threat given the way these two like to play.
Maria will continue to try to get her opponent running vertically up and down the court with her mixture of slices and drop shots.
Unfortunately for her, Jabeur will be very happy to play such a game – the Tunisian has plenty of variety in her arsenal and, crucially, also has the greater power when they opt to duke it out from the baseline.
Jabeur, who leads the head-to-head 2-1, albeit their last meeting was in 2018, deserves her position as a firm favourite, although she makes little appeal at the prices.
1/7 looks short enough, while I’m not into backing straight-sets wins at 4/9.
She’s giving up 5.5 games on the handicap but Maria has proved a tough opponent for all-comers so far in SW19 and I wouldn’t be that surprised for her to make this competitive.
Ante-post followers will already have Jabeur onside at 10/1 each way in the outright market so this is very much her chance to nail down a profit.
If you’re on that, there’s certainly no need to force the issue and add further bets.
I wrote the other day how Halep had been ‘getting better with each outing’ and she took things to a new level on Wednesday when beating Amanda Anisimova in straight sets.
Injury problems robbed her of the chance of defend her title last year but this time around fitness isn’t a problem and her game looks in great working order. Few players look as comfortable on the grass as Halep these days.
A 6-2 6-4 win over Anisimova followed an even easier victory over Paula Badosa and it’s not hard to see Rybakina going the same way.
A price of 7/8 for HALEP TO WIN IN STRAIGHT SETS looks appealing.
It should be noted Rybakina has won a set in her two previous completed matches against Halep (both were lost) but the Romanian wasn’t fully fit that day and her form is very much improved in comparison.
She’s also the one bringing all the experience here whereas Rybakina will be looking to reach her maiden Grand Slam final. And we’ve seen before how that possibility can affect a player.
The big thing in the Kazakh’s favour is her serve, one of the best in the women’s game – and that offers up a potential betting angle.
She slammed down 15 aces against Ajla Tomljanovic on Wednesday and it’s eye-opening to see that in last year’s meeting with the 5ft 6in Halep at the US Open, she delivered no fewer than 14 in their three-set battle.
Such figures make bet365’s 4/1 about 10+ in this contest look big, with Sky Bet offering a slightly lower line, going 2/1 about 9+.
The worry here is that will she be able to hit those lines if things are settled in straight sets?
Perhaps not but a small interest looks worthwhile at those odds.
For those wanting to eliminate that ‘short match’ worry, it’s also worth mentioning that bet365 go 8/11 about 6+ Rybakina aces.
Posted at 0730 BST on 07/07/22
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