Not Hard To Like Azarenka And Li

This photo combo created on January 25,

Victoria Azarenka and Na Li are the two players upon which US Open women’s singles punters searching for value should focus ahead of the final Grand Slam event of the year. If you are interested in the men’s event, you will need to navigate to our Men’s 2013 US Open Singles betting picks guide.

Azarenka represents a viable alternative to Serena Williams in the US Open women’s singles title market and Li is an good proposition to be the player who emerges from the second quarter as one of the four quarter-finalists.

Serena Williams is odds on across the board to win what would be her fifth US Open women’s singles crown and her 17th major women’s singles prize. Williams boasts a superb 60-4 record in 2013 and the support that she receives from the Flushing Meadows crowd is phenomenal. However, Williams has a win percentage at the US Open that is lower than the ones that he has at the Australian Open and Wimbledon so it is far from a done deal that she turns up and wins. Only three times in her last eight US Open starts has Williams reached the final so she is pretty short at around 1.80.

Azarenka is the number two seed and, while she trails Serena Williams 3-12 overall, she has won their last two matches on hard courts – 7-6 2-6 6-3 in Doha in February 2013 and 2-6 6-2 7-6 in Cincinnati earlier this month. No-one disputes that Williams merits favouritism but the gap in the betting between the two – Azarenka is trading at 4.10 with 888sport – is too wide considering their recent head-to-head results and the fact that the Belarusian’s record on hard courts this season reads 25 victories and only one defeat. Also, Azarenka’s solitary loss on hard courts this year came when she was feeling her way back from a mid-season injury.

Whereas bookmakers think that the US Open men’s singles is a race in three – Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – they are of the opinion that the women’s event is between only two players. It is 21.00 bar the top two seeds and, as much as one would love to find a roughie with a live chance of lifting aloft the trophy, one does not seem to exist.

From the perspective of betting on the winner of the four US Open women’s singles quarters, Li stands out in the second section as the 3.25 second favourite with Coral to upset Angieszka Radwanska. Other players in the quarter include Sorana Cirstea, Jelena Jankovic, Sabine Lisicki and fast-improving British star Laura Robson.

Li’s US Open record is decidedly average – one quarter-final appearance in eight attempts – but her fine results in the Australian Open, which include being the runner-up in two of the last three editions, suggests that she does like playing on hard courts. Li is seeded to meet Radwanska in the last eight and it is the Chinese’s numbers versus the Pole that make one think that bookmakers have got the wrong favourite. Li leads Radwanska 6-5 overall but a much more emphatic 5-1 on hard courts, with the Chinese’s only hard-court loss to the Pole coming in Sydney at the beginning of 2013. The Sydney tournament is a warm-up event for the Australian Open, one that throws up quite a few shocks because it is early on the schedule and many players are not fully wound up. Li has won four of her five hard-court matches against Radwanska without dropping a set and two of her crushing victories came for the loss of fewer than four games.

Li is a big-match player who thrives on the biggest of stages. Li prepared for the US Open women’s singles by participating in the Cincinnati event and pushing Serena Williams all the way in their semi-final encounter, going down 5-7 5-7 in two tight sets. Li should be the favourite to qualify for the semi-finals from the second section, with Serena Williams lying in wait for whoever gets that far.

The US Open women’s singles third quarter is not strong – any section from which Caroline Wozniacki is the favourite to qualify has to be classified as weak – but there is no stand-out bet in opposition to the Dane who flatters to deceive. It remains a bad joke that Wozniacki was, at one stage, rated as the world’s number one female player.

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