January 23, 2011

Australian Open Betting Preview and Free Pick: Na Li vs. Andrea Petkovic



#9 Na Li

#30 Andrea Petkovic

And then there were eight… Only eight ladies will be left standing in the right to beat the Australian Open odds by the time Andrea Petkovic and Na Li take to the hard courts in Sydney, and the prize for the winner is a coveted birth in the semifinals of the first major tournament of the year.

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Li has been one of these players on tour that has consistently been solid, but has never really made that run in one of these Grand Slam events that makes you go “Wow!” This is her first real chance to shine as the winner of an illustrious title, as this is probably the best looking draw that she has had in her brief time on the WTA Tour. Li was a semifinalist here at the Australian Open last year, and she knows what it takes to win at this, the quarterfinal stage. She has been absolutely fantastic here in Sydney, erasing four foes in straight sets. The most recent win, a ‘W’ over Victoria Azarenka, was one of the most notable victories in her career, as there aren’t many triumphs over Top 10 ranked players in the world to her tally. Li has been consistent getting her first service in, as she has done so in just over 75 percent of her serves in this tournament, but she isn’t even at a 65 percent success rate on that point. The Chinese star has been absolutely fantastic when given the chance to break though, as she has a whopping 21 successful breaks in just eight sets.

It seems like these Grand Slam events have become a haven for women coming out of nowhere and making some huge runs to get into the Round of 8 or even into the semifinals, and this is what we have this year with Petkovic. Many Australian Open expert handicappers picked this German to go a long way in this year’s field, and though she was given a gift by Venus Williams, who retired after just seven points in the third round, Petkovic really had to earn her 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Maria Sharapova in the fourth round in a match played at Rod Laver Arena. Thus far, Petkovic has done a fantastic job playing sound tennis. She only committed nine unforced errors against Sharapova on Sunday morning, giving her three matches out of four with single digits worth of blunders. Numbers like that are going to let her go a long way here in Sydney. Petkovic also has 15 service breaks to her credit in essentially just three matches, showing that she has really improved in all facets of her game. This is the first time that she has made it this far in a Grand Slam event.

Both of these players really lack the glitz and glamour that you’d love to see in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event, but both are really ready to shine, and it wouldn’t surprise us if the winner of this match ended up taking all the marbles. Petkovic has been a slight underdog seemingly every step of the way, and she continues to persevere, and we’ll back her once again to get into the semis.

Australian Open Free Pick: Andrea Petkovic +170 at BetPhoenix

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