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19th January 2016 / Lee A Jackson - Category:
The WTA season, much like the ATP Tour, gets an early January start every year. The winter break between the back end of the previous season and the new one, isn’t all that long for players, who mostly take a short break and then get back into conditioning ahead of the new season. The tennis season set up simply demands that players come flying out of the blocks in early January because the first major of the season, the Australian Open is an annual January event so players have little time to get back to competitive action before taking on the gruelling two weeks of one of the four Grand Slams.
The Grand Slams are just the tip of a very big iceberg in terms of tennis tournaments that are played across the year on the WTA. You also have the highly ranked Premier Tier events as well as the rest of the regular season events and the International level tournaments as well. Naturally because of the higher ranking points on offer at the higher tiered events, most of the big stars of the women’s game gravitate towards the bigger tournaments. They don’t have to work so hard for ranking points as lower ranked players. But unlike the ATP, you will generally find that top players do spread themselves out across the lower tiered tournaments as well across the season.
It’s not too unusual to see players taking on an International level tournament for either prestige, practice or prize money. Whatever the motivation, there is usually at least a couple of tournament running each and every week throughout the calendar year, unless of course it is a Premier Tier or Grand Slam event in progress. The Season starts early in January and runs through to the end of October each year. Then it’s a short winter break to start all over again in the battle for titles and points ranking in a season which makes a swing right around the world on most continents.
As well as trying to hold the honour of being a top ten player in the world, there is also the annual Road To Singapore points chase going on. Players get awarded points from tournaments and the top eight at the end of the season make it through to the BNP Paribas WTA Finals in Singapore where there is a mammoth prize fund on offer to round off the season with for the elite players. The WTA Elite Trophy is always the final event of the year and that is a tournament for tournament winners from across the season (those who didn’t qualify for the WTA Finals).
WTA Tour Calendar 2016
||Apia International Sydney
||Grand Slam – Australian Open
||St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy
||Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
||Rio de Janeiro
||Qatar Total Open
||Abierto Mexicano Telcel
||Abierto Monterrey Afirme
||BMW Malaysian Open
||BNP Paribas Open
||San Antonio 125K Series
||Volvo Cars Open
||Claro Open Colsanitas
||Porsche Tennis Grand Prix
||TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup
||J&T Banka Prague Open
||GP SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem
||Mutua Madrid Open
||Empire State Open
||Internationaux de Strasbourg
||Grandslam – Roland Garros
||Aegon Open Notthingham
||Aegon Classic Birmingham
||Aegon International Eastbourne
||Grandslam – Wimbledon
||Nürnberger Gastein Ladies
||Bank of the West Classic
||Collector Swedish Open
||Brasil Tennis Cup
||Western & Southern Open
||Louisville International Open
||Grandslam – US Open
||Coupe Banque Nationale
||Toray Pan Pacific Open
||Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open
||Generali Ladies Linz
||Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open
||BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open
||BNP Paribas WTA Finals
||WTA Elite Trophy
These are the titles that everyone wants. This is the elite level of the game and because of the tough, big field that a player has to come through over the two weeks, it’s the ultimate tennis test of endurance, determination and skill. You tend to see the same old faces at the business end of WTA Grand Slams and one of the most familiar faces is that of Serena Williams. The American keeps on going strongly and she started the 2016 season just three title short of the current record for the most Grand Slam tournament singles title, held by Margaret Court. Williams, who won three of the four 2015 Grand Slam titles, started the year with 21, just one behind German legend Steffi Graf’s 22 and closing in on Court’s record of 24.
By and large though the women’s game is far more open (if you take Williams out of the picture) than the men’s. Over on the ATP you are looking at one of five players who can realistically win a Grand Slam but the playing field is pretty even in the women’s game, again without the presence of Williams. Maria Sharapova has claimed all four Grand Slam titles in her career but it took her almost ten year to accomplish that, completing the career slam with a French Open title in 2012.
It’s that tough to win Grand Slam but popular (and in some case surprise) winners like Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Li Na, Petra Kvitova and even 2015 US Open winner Flavia Pennetta have shown that wins can pop up from anywhere on the women’s side of the Grand Slam. Whenever Serena Williams falls from a Grand Slam, the field gets blown wide, wide open and that’s not even mentioning new players coming through like Simona Halep and Belinda Bencic who could well be Grand Slam champions down the line.
2016 Grand Slam Start Dates
Australian Open – January 18th
French Open – May 22nd
Wimbledon – June 27th
US Open – August 29th
WTA Premier Events
Since 2009 the Women’s Tour has a range of Premier Tournaments of varying degrees of stature. There are the big four Premier Mandatory Events which are Indian Wells, Madrid, Miami and Beijing. There are 1000 ranking points going to the winner of one of those. They are kind of like mini-Grand Slams. There are also five Premier 5 events on the season which offers a 900 points ranking haul for the winner (Dubai, Rome, Cincinnati, Toronto/Montreal, and Wuhan) while there are twelve Premier events across the season which offers 470 total ranking points to the winner. Just to put all that into context, a player who wins a Grand Slam will pocket 2,000 rankings points for their effort.
Of all active players, Serena Williams holds the record for the most WTA Premier titles won by a single player. Going into the 2016 season, Williams had claimed 23 WTA Premier titles, six of those being Premier Mandatory events (the tally also includes end of season Championships titles of which Williams has four). Petra Kvitova, Martia Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki were holding joint second players in the list of all time WTA Premier League titles, with twelve each almost half as few as Williams has won during her career. As with the WTA Grand Slam tennis betting you are only going to see Serena Williams at the head of the market, but the Premier Mandatory events in particular follow a much similar betting pattern where you will see a handful of the same players occupying the places at the head of the market like Williams, Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza. Always pay attention to surfaces because some players perform better and raise their games on certain surfaces as opposed to others.
2016 Premier Mandatory Start Dates
Indian Wells – March 7th
Miami Open – March 21st
Mutua Madrid Open – May 2nd
China Open – October 3rd
While Andy Murray pretty much takes up all interest on the British tennis scene, there of course are home-grown talents knocking around the WTA. The top promising players out of Britain for some time have been Heather Watson and Laura Robson, but both have failed to really set the game alight and live up to their respective potentials, largely it would seem, because of injury and illness issues that seem to crop up time and time again for the youngsters.
Last season Johanna Konta stole much of the limelight of British interest. Konata’s run to the last sixteen at the 2015 US Open was a delight, the Brit beating out the likes of Garbine Muguruza, Andrea Petkovic in the main draw after having started her campaign way back in the qualifying round of 128. She lost her seventh game at the tournament, her round of sixteen battle with Petra Kvitova. But then Konta went on a tear, reaching the quarterfinals of Wuhan as well where she beat Victoria Azarenka and Simona Help before losing out to Venus Williams.
Konta started 2016 as the highest ranked British women on the WTA, inside the top fifty, followed by Watson. The next British talent which is likely to be making waves sooner or later is Naomi Broady and she started the season outside of the top 100, while because of all her time away from the game and upsets, Laura Robertson is down around the 500 ranking. You’ll find all the British players putting in most of their time at the International Tier tournaments.
Fed Cup (Federation Cup)
As well as the individual tournaments, there is some international action to come in 2016 with the Fed Cup. At the close of the 2015 season, Great Britain were ranked 23rd in the ITF Rankings, third from bottom with only Thailand and Croatia lower than then. Great Britain are in the Europe/Africa Zone for the regional competition and they take on Georgia and South Africa, in Pool B. The winner of the four pools then go to a play off to see which two then go through to the World Group II Play Offs. Basically Great Britain are a long way off competing in the Fed Cup World Group and are just trying to muscle their way into World Group II for a shot and then making a run at the World Group, the elite portion of the Fed Cup.
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3rd January 2016 / Lee A Jackson - Category:
Even though tennis players head off to their winter break pretty late in the calendar year, there’s not a lot of time to rest really. The new seasons steps in during the first week of 2016 so players are right back at it. It is a massive challenge as well, because just two weeks into the new year, starting on January 18th, is the first Grand Slam of the season. yes, the 2016 Australian Open is right here with us and it is time to take look a look at a preview for the WTA side of things.
Serena Williams is back to defend her Australian Open title. It’s not the first time that she has been in this position heading back to Melbourne Park, but only once before has she actually managed to successfully defend the title in the following year. So do that give some wiggle room for one of the other players in the field to make a run at the title? Maybe so when you consider that there have been four different winners in the last five editions of the famous trophy.
WTA Australian Open 2016 Favourite
It is Serena Williams who is WTA Australian Open 2016 Favourite. No surprise there then of course. With three of last season’s four Grand Slam titles to her name, she is the one to beat still in the game. She is trading as 15/8 outright favourite to claim what would be here seventh Australian Open title. If she does go all the way again this year then it would be her 20th Major Singles title, so impressive.
She beat out Maria Sharapova in last season’s final, which wasn’t a great surprise considering the immense head to head lead that Williams has over the Russian (18-2). You have to question who can stop Williams when one of the best fighters on the WTA can’t get close to Williams. However, she has suffered some big upsets in recent appearances as the Australian Open. 2012 and 2014 saw her crash out at the fourth round stage (versus Ekaterina Makarova and Ana Ivanovic respectively), while 2013 she didn’t make it past the quarter finals, getting dumped out at that stage by fellow American Sloane Stephens.
So it’s unexpected defeats more than high-profile exits against other contenders which seems to trip Williams up the most. Frankly if she gets to the semi finals stage of the competition then you don’t expect anything but for the title to end up in her hands. She has never lost an Australian Open final and with having won four of the last five Grand Slam titles on offer, she’ll still take some stopping in Melbourne.
WTA Australian Open 2016 Main Contenders
Victoria Azarenka 6/1
Two Australian Open Final Appearances, Two Titles
Out of the main contenders, only Azarenka looks most capable of taking down Williams (not considering the upsets against low-ranked players that Williams has suffered recently at Melbourne). But that requires the Belarusian being on top of her game. She was working her way back to the top last year after illness and injury set backs but she has a good record at Melbourne Park nonetheless with those two titles. She only made it to the fourth round last season as she was ousted by a gusty Dominika Cibulkova.
So even with looking at Azarenka as Williams’ main challenger at the US Open, she has failed to beat the American at the last four attempts. Because of Azarenka’s absence from the game last term it meant that she was a dangerous, lower-seeded floater in the field and clashed into Williams early in both the French Open and Wimbledon and would have done so at the Australian Open if she had won her fourth round match. With a better draw and a positive start to the new season, she could make her way to the final four. Avoiding Williams is paramount as Williams leads Azarenka 17-3 in the head to head.
Maria Sharapova 7/1
Four Australian Open Finals, One Title
The Russian can be so frustrating at times. After all the defeats that she has suffered against Williams in her career, you would think that she could come up with something different to try and beat the American. She can’t seem to find her step against Williams at all, just can’t get in the games and stay there. When Sharapova doesn’t have her first serve working for her, suddenly she can look fragile.
Still, you will be hard pushed to find anyone who digs deeper than Sharapova when her back is against the wall. She won the 2008 Australian Open over Ana Ivanovic but lost two of her other final appearances in Melbourne against Serena Williams and one against Azarenka. She has a Career Grand Slam of Major titles but since 2009 she has only claimed the French Open title. She has less of a shot than Azarenka does because such a great player should be winning Slams more consistently, which suggests a blockage somewhere.
Simona Halep 9/1
No Australian Open Final Appearances
This is where we will probably contradict what was said about Azarenka being the only one capable of taking down Williams. Help, out of the main contenders and here is why. In contests against Williams, Halep has looked far less overawed by the stature of her opponent than when say Sharapova or Azarenka goes up against Williams. Halep trails Williams 6-1 in the head to head, yes, but has pushed the American very hard, just because of her aggressive approach to the game.
A lot was expected in last season’s Grand Slam from Halep but it didn’t quite pan out that way until she made the semi finals at the US Open. The Romanian has made the quarter finals in the last two seasons at the Australian Open and would expect her to at least be there again. She’ll be running off less pressure, less expectations this time around after her brilliant 2014 season felt flat in 2015. That will make her more dangers and looks a tremendous each way wager to go all the way and claim her first Slam. It has to happen sooner or later that she’ll put everything together.
Petra Kvitova 12/1
No Australian Open Final Appearances
Usually a dangerous floater in the field and has had her issues with confidence and fitness. Her best ever run at Melbourne Park was a semi final appearance in 2012 and she has only made it past the third round on one other occasion. Kvitova, an awkward left hander with a lot of height advantage, should be doing better than that. She is a two-time Wimbledon Champion of course so has the moxy to go all the way in Grand Slams.
However, her hard court record in Slams in terrible really with just two quarter final appearances and one semi final from fifteen appearances combined at the Australian and US Open during her career. Really you would expect her to be more of a consistent quarter finals at Slams, but she’s not, so it’s a long stretch to see her go all the way.
Stats to consider for 2016 Australian Open betting
Looking at the final stages of last season’s Australian Open, there was a definite trend going on through the matches. Of the seven matches from the quarter finals onwards at the 2015 Australian Open, only one of them went to three sets. So it is worth, when the latter stages of the 2016 edition come around that you seriously consider the 2-0 option in set betting for the matches that come up, in particular where Williams is concerned.
Williams dropped sets in both the third round and fourth round last season (both the opening sets against Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza) then cruised through from the quarter final stages. Williams knows how to make it work when the business end of things comes along at Melbourne Park.
Dropped sets haven’t been a big occurrence in recent finals of the Australian Open. Of the last ten finals contested at the Australian Open, only three of them have gone to three sets. Of Serena Williams’ six Australian Open finals though, things have been split evenly with three of them having gone over three sets. Three of her last four Australian Open titles though have been straight-sets victories.
WTA 2016 Australian Open Winner Odds
Serena Williams 15/8, Victoria Azarenka 6/1, Maria Sharapova 7/1, Simona Halep 9/1, Petra Kvitova 12/1, Garbine Muguruza 20/1, Belinda Bencic 20/1, Eugenie Bouchard 20/1, Madison Keys 25/1, Caroline Wozniacki 28/1, 40/1 bar
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17th August 2015 / Lee A Jackson - Category:
Hats off to young Belinda Bencic who made her way past both Serena Williams and Simona Halep to win the Rogers Cup in Toronto on the weekend. That was her 21st win in her last 25 matches and is within touching distance now of the world top ten after claiming the second title of her career (both this year). The bookmakers have had to react to that of course and Bencic is a 20/1 quote at online betting site Bet365 to walk out and cap what would truly be a remarkable fortnight by winning in Cincinnati.
That’s a big ask of the 21 year old Swiss player though, as she will be opposed by some heavy hitters in the game again. The whole top ten (apart from Ekaterina Makarova) is actually out in Ohio this week so a massively competitive feature. Bencic has a tough opener against recent Stanford winner Angelique Kerber in the first round and were she to get through that then she could be on a collision course with fourth seed Petra Kvitova in the quarter finals.
Serena Williams is likely to be one of the semi finalists from the top half of the draw and you can be she will be out for some redemption after her final four loss against Bencic in Toronto. Williams goes as heavy 6/5 odds on favourite to win the Western & Southern Open a price which is a long way shorter than second favourite Maria Sharapova who makes her return this week. Sharapova hasn’t played since the Wimbledon semi finals, missing Toronto because of an injury.
Toronto finalist Simona Halep is thankfully back on form on the hard courts. No other player has won more hard court matches or WTA titles this season than the young Romanian has done. In each of the last two season she has been in the quarter finals of Cincinnati, but she is back at a price of 9/1 after having to withdraw with an injury problem in the final of Toronto against Bencic. Halep would meet Sharapova at the semi final stage, but with injury concerns over both, it may be worth opposing them in quarters betting.
Victoria Azarenka is a nice 9/4 appeal to win the third quarter of CIncinnati over Halep for the same price as the Romanian. Sharapova, who hasn’t looked herself for most of the season has an easier quarter, but there are a couple of players in there who could surprise like Karolina Pliskova and Timea Bacsinszky who are 7/1 quotes to beat Sharapova to the fourth quarter punch. Interestingly since the tournament began in 2004 there has been a different Champion each year. So look for someone who hasn’t won it (of the current crop that would count out Williams, Azarenka and Sharapova).
WTA Cincinnati Tennis betting odds
Serena Williams 6/5, Maria Sharapova 7/1, Victoria Azarenka 9/1, Simona Help 9/1, Petra Kvitova 16/1, Belinda Bencic 20/1, Garbine Muguruza 33/1, Agnieszka Radwanska 33/1, Angelique Kerber 40/1, Caroline Wozniacki 40/1, bar 50/1
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8th July 2015 / Lee A Jackson - Category:
Had the draw not been top-heavy in the first half, this could well have been a fitting final for the women’s draw this season. As it is, the heavyweight clash of the former SW19 champions goes off in the semi-finals and not too surprisingly Williams is going as the heavy favourite for the win. That’s not too surprising given the resilience which she has shown before and the fact that she has dominated Maria Sharapova throughout her career.
Sharapova hasn’t had a particularly great season by her standards, having fallen short a fair few times in the big events in 2015. She holds a 10-9 win/loss record in Grand Slam semi-finals so it is a big hit and miss with her at this stage. You have to stack that up against the 24-3 win/loss record that Serena Williams has in semi-finals of the majors. Sharapova, who will be back up to world number two at the end of the tournament, has actually never managed to beat Serena Williams when Williams has been ranked number one in the world.
From nineteen previous meetings between these two, Sharapova has won just the two matches. Unfortunately, those two wins came in the first three meetings between the two of them, all back in 2004, including Sharapova’s win over Williams in the Wimbledon 2004 final. So the Russian queen of the courts is now on a massive seventeen match losing streak against Williams. It’s understandable that Sharapova is a 4/1 underdog at Titanbet for the semi-final scrap.
Williams has been shaken and rattled at this year’s Wimbledon. She was so nearly ousted from the tournament by Britain’s Heather Watson, racking up 33 unforced errors in that game. She was on the ropes early against Victoria Azarenka in the quarter-finals too, having lost the first set. But as Williams does, she fought back to take the match to the Belarusian and managed to win through.
Whatever she seems to get herself in, whether it is a strong start and crushing opponents, of finding herself having to defend against an opponent serving out for a win over her, or fighting back from early losing positions, she seems to find a way. With a meeting against either Agnieszka Radwanska or Garbine Muguruza in the final, the Serena Slam is looking more and more probable right now and she is 1/6 odds on favourite to beat Sharapova.
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13th May 2015 / Lee A Jackson - Category:
Another big week on the tennis betting circuits as the men and women are both in Rome for top tier events. Over on the women’s’ side of things, the rapid build up to the French Open continues with top protagonists Serena Williams and Simona Halep looking to build some momentum. Petra Kvitova stunned the field with a big win in Madrid last time out and the Czech is running at 6/1 to make it a double Premier Tier hit with a win in Rome this week.
Kvitova toppled Williams on her way to the win in Madrid, while Maria Sharapova almost got her clay swing going but was ousted before the final by Svetlana Kuznetsova. Kvitova’s win in Madrid has shaken things up because the clay powerhouses of Sharapova, Halep and Williams now have another threat to deal with besides each other.
Williams and Sharapova are on course for a semi final clash in the top half of the draw, with Victoria Azarenka dangerously floating around Shara’s quarter. It leaves a very nice path to the final for Halep whose big challenge may not come until the semi’s where Kvitova could be waiting.
WTA Rome Tennis Betting Odds
Serena Williams 7/4, Simona Halep 4/1, Maria Sharapova 5/1, Petra Kvitova 6/1, Victoria Azarenka 6/1, bar 16/1.
Andy Murray has suddenly come to life with back to back clay court titles. After landing his first career title in Germany recently at a lower tier event, he went out and rocked the tennis world by landing the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid title. Not many would have seen that coming, many especially would not have seen it coming seeing that it was Rafael Nadal who Murray took down in the final. So can Murray make it a remarkable three in a row on clay after waiting for so long just to win one in his career?
Murray is running as 10/1 third favourite for the ATP Rome title this week, with Novak Djokovic up at as 4/5 favourite, with Rafael Nadal sandwiching them at a quote of 3/1 with Sportingbet. Novak Djokovic is the defending champion and is going for his fourth Rome title, while Nadal is looking for his eighth! Murray has never been to the final of Rome (his best showing a semi final in 2011) while Roger Federer is missing this title from his large trophy cabinet.
The upturn in Murray’s clay fortunes has made things pretty interesting now and while he has a manageable quarter with David Ferrer the top player opposing him, Murray could meet Djokovic in the semi final stage and that is where all bets may be off for Murray, because he hasn’t figured out how to beat the Serbian for a long, long time now.
ATP Rome Tennis Betting Odds
Novak Djokovic 4/5, Rafael Nadal 3/1, Andy Murray 10/1, Kei Nishikori 10/1, Roger Federer 14/1, bar 20/1
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3rd May 2015 / Lee A Jackson - Category:
Big week in the Premier Tier event on the Women’s Tour in Spain that is the Mutua Madrid Open. All of the big guns are out and already one has fallen, as Romanian powerhouse Simona Halep crashed in the first round against Alize Cornet. That blew the field up a bit and the result of it has just thrown more favouritism to Serena Williams who is 5/4 favourite at online betting site Bet365. Williams cruised her way through her first round match in powerful style, conceding just one game against Madison Brengle in a bit of a non-contest.
Williams, who herself has said that she wasn’t as ready for the clay swing of the season as she should be, has won the Mutua Madrid title in two of the three previous years, 2012 and 2013. It was Maria Sharapova who took the title last season, beating out Simona Halep in the final, after Williams had lost in fourth round against Petra Kvitova in a shock upset. Sharapova is a fantastic clay court player, probably better than Williams, but the Russian hasn’t been out her best this season and even on the switch to clay she lost in the first round of Germany against Angelique Kerber, a tournament which Sharapova has owned in recent years.
Still Sharapova is running as 6/1 second favourite in the WTA Mutua Madrid tennis betting market after the collapse of the out-of-sorts Halep. Beyond those then you are really digging around to pick out some value, with Williams and Sharapova the two heavy hitters left in the field. The demise of Halep has opened the draw up for Maria Sharapova, who has seen what would have most likely been her semifinal opponent, exit the tournament. Kerber also lost out in the first round against Sam Stosur, opening up the draw even more for Sharapova down in the bottom half.
Caroline Wozniacki is 10/1 third favourite, with Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka running at 12/1 with online betting site Bet365. Azarenka won a big battle of former world number one’s in the first round, as she beat out Venus Williams on the Madrid clay.
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19th April 2015 / Lee A Jackson - Category:
Big draw on the WTA tennis betting this week, as Maria Sharapova is back out and expecting to defend her Stuttgart title. This is a clay event, a surface which given Sharapova’s performances this season, she will be happy to get too. The Russian darling of the tennis courts has won this title for the last three seasons running and goes as firm favourite in what is the oldest indoor clay tournament on the WTA.
While you haven’t seen the best of Sharapova this season, you can expect too this week in WTA Stuttgart tennis betting. She is up as 3/1 joint favourite for this week’s action but she won’t be too happy with the draw because she could run into Germany’s Angelique Kerber, who recently won a title on clay in Charleston, in her first match. So not the kind of start that she would have wanted, but should she win, it would be a massive bolster for her confidence to run all the way.
But with so much dominance in Stuttgart, why is Sharapova not outright favorite? That is because of Simona Halep, who sits in direct opposition also at a quote of 3/1 with online betting site Bet365. Halep has been in immense form this season, that is why she is joint favourite with the proven track record of Sharapova. Halep, who has won three titles already this season, is actually better on clay than on the hard court, because her game, like Sharapova’s is more naturally suited to the dirt. That’s a scary thing for the rest of the WTA for the clay swing of the season.
You would say the draw ahead for Halep is tricky, not insurmountable. The likes of young Garbine Muguruza, clay veteran Sara Errani and Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska are all crammed in Halep’s quarter of the draw. Then there is the likes of clay specialist Carla Suarez Navarro a potential semi final opponent down the line. This should be a great test for both Sharapova and Help of their clay credentials, in what can be considered as the real start to the Roland Garros French Open build up.
Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Winner Betting Odds
Maria Sharapova 3/1, Simona Halep 3/1, Petra Kvitova 7/1, Ana Ivanovic 12/1, Garbine Muguruza 10/1, Carla Suarez Navarro 16/1, Caroline Wozniacki 16/1, Agnieszka Radwanska 20/1, Angelique Kerber 25/1, 28/1 bar
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13th April 2015 / paul - Category:
It’s the semi-finals of the Federation Cup this weekend with the Czech Republic taking on France and Russia up against Germany in Sochi.
The Russians are the marginal favourites for the tournament at a general 7/4 and have a strong line-up. World number two Maria Sharapova will play two singles matches against the Germans, as will Svetlana Kuznetsova. Either Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Elena Vesnina will partner Kuznetsova in the doubles.
Russia has won three of their previous Federation Cup meetings with Germany but the teams haven’t faced each other since 2002 and the Germans shouldn’t be underestimated on the clay courts of the Adler Arena. They comfortably saw off Australia in the first round of the World Group and will make the four-times champions work hard for victory. Andrea Petkovic, Angelique Kerber and Sabine Licki are all in the world’s top 20 and have made themselves available for this crucial tie. Barbara Rittner‘s team are a general 4/1 to go on and win the Federation Cup.
At 9/5 with bwin, I like the look of the Czech Republic to successfully defend their Federation Cup title. The Czechs are bidding to reach a fourth final in five years and have developed into a formidable team under Petr Pala.
They showed their strength-in-depth in the first round when whitewashing Canada, even though they were without two of their best players. World number four Petra Kvitova returns for their semi-final against the French, along with Lucie Sarafova.
Player-for-player, they look in a different league to France and also have home advantage – the hardcourt of the Cez Arena looks tailor-made for Kvitova – though the French do have a better head-to-head historical record in matches between the countries. Amelie Mauresmo‘s team came back from 2-0 down to beat Italy in the first round but they won’t be able to give the Czech Republic any kind of a start in Ostrava and are rightly the outsiders of the remaining four teams at 13/2 with Coral. They might struggle to take even one rubber off the Czechs if everything goes to form and ranking.
30th January 2015 / Lee A Jackson - Category:
It is the biggest finale that the Australian Open 2015 could have come down to. Maria Sharapova will once again go into battle against her old foe Serena Williams and it will be the American who heads up Saturday’s final as 2/5 favourite, with Sharapova out at 23/10 to land the title.
Sharapova has lost 15 successive matches against Williams, but knowing Sharapova, that won’t dent her confidence any. It has been a decade since the Russian last got a win on the board against Williams, but she will have her backers to snap her extended losing streak against the world number one.
Sharapova has grit and a scrapping ability like no other player on the WTA Tour. Not even from the likes of young upstarts Eugenie Bouchard and Simona Halep. It is likely that Sharapova will need all of her defensive prowess in Saturday’s final. She will be staying back and pounding away at whatever bombs Williams throws at her.
For many this really should be the time for Sharapova to stand up and take over the mantle from the dominance of Williams in the game. The Russian has years over the American to come and to think that she hasn’t beaten Williams since back in 2004 is almost incredulous. There is the feeling that if Sharapova wins this one, it could really usher in a shift in power for the rest of the season.
Sweet 16 for Maria Sharapova v Serena Williams
So after losing the last fifteen in a row against Williams, will it be sweet 16 for Sharapova? Both have been relatively untroubled through the tournament, apart from Sharapova saving two match points in her second round match. Williams has shown her power after a sluggish start to the season, and her power and game is working well. But is it strong enough to take out Sharapova.
It is fitting for the Australian Open final that Maria Sharapova v Serena Williams betting is a showdown between the top two in the world. The last time that they met at the Australian Open was back in 2007, with Sharapova taking just three games off her opponent on that occasion. In just one of the last eleven head to heads between then, has a clash gone to three sets.
Williams is a quote of 11/10 with online betting site Paddy Power to win 2-0 in set betting, and a 5/2 option to win 2-1. Simply sticking with 2 sets in Total Sets for Australian Open betting will return you a quote of 1/2.
For your Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova betting at the Australian Open Final, there is great insurance on the match at online betting site Paddy Power. They will refund losing match bets on your player as a free bet if they win the first set of the match but go on to lose the match. The maximum refund is £100 per customer per match.
27th January 2015 / Lee A Jackson - Category:
Ekaterina Makarova v Maria Sharapova is a surprise semi final line up in Australian Open tennis betting. Russian darling Sharapova isn’t the surprise, but at this stage of the competition, it was expected that she would be going up against number three seed Simona Halep. However, Makarova’s surprise demolition job over the Romanian, has set up a more one-sided looking semi final clash.
Sharapova is heavy 2/7 favourite to win the fixture with online betting site Paddy Power and is back in the semi finals of the competition for the seventh time in her career. She has managed to go on and convert just the once to get her hands on the Australian Open from those six previous places in the final four.
But she is a fighter and she is looking powerfully pragmatic in her approach to the game. She simply worked hard and that was enough to outclass Canadian starlet eugenie Bouchard in their quarter final clash. Sharapova has her back-up plan of stepping into overdrive working very well at the moment, and it was clinical enough to pounce on any mistakes from Bouchard.
Since her second round scare against Alexandra Panova, where Sharapova had to see off two match points, she has looked more amped up and in focus. Ekaterina Makarova deserves huge plaudits for the hard work that she put in against Simona Halep, and was simply one step ahead of everything that Halep threw at her, with some brilliant defensive anticipation.
The win puts the Russian into her second successive Grand Slam final, after seeing off Eugenie Bouchard and Victoria Azarenka on her way to the final four of Flushing Meadows last season at the US Open, before being ousted by Serena Williams. Understated is the best way to describe Makarova, but she should play her part in an enduring semi final. Sharapova leads the head to head 5-0 against her compatriot including two previous wins at the Australian Open over her (2012 and 2013 quarter finals).
Online bookmaker Paddy Power will refund losing match bets on your player as a free bet if they win the first set of the match but go on to lose the match. Great Australian Open betting insurance and the maximum refund is £100 per customer per match.