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Azarenka to maintain Sharapova stanglehold to reach US Open final

| 08.09.2012

Earphones should be at the ready within the Arthur Ashe Stadium as the two loudest grunters meet in the semi finals of the US Open and Victoria Azarenka has to be considered a big favourite to beat Maria Sharapova.

Azarenka is priced at 4/9 to reach a first career US Open final and has been the dominant force across the last four hard-court meetings between the pair.

Significantly, two of these successes have been particularly heavy ones this year, firstly in the final of the Australian Open and then at Indian Wells.

Sharapova can win more than five games here and much will depend on how well she serves, as in the past Azarenka has gained a major edge with aggressive returns, especially with second serves.

All of these last four successes have also come in straight sets and it is 11/10 that Azarenka can continue this streak.

What is interesting is that the duo have played 23 three-set matches between them this season and neither has been beaten in a decider.

US Open odds of 11/8 are available that three sets are needed to separate Azarenka and Sharapova here.

In the other semi final, Serena Williams has to be backed at 1/6 to see off Sara Errani in two sets.

Williams has not dropped a set all tournament and has been nigh on unbreakable on serve given the high percentage of first-serve points that she has won.

The only chance Errani has is to somehow take the game to as many long rallies as possible, but this is easier said than done against a player who hits the ball has hard as Williams on a court that is playing especially quickly.

Only Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez has managed to take more than four games off Serena at Flushing Meadow this year and she only won two in the first set.

Therefore, the 8/11 on offer that under 8.5 games are present in the first set looks a price worth considering.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.