Australian Open Betting Preview and Free Pick: Petra Kvitova vs. Vera Zvonareva



#25 Petra Kvitova

#2 Vera Zvonareva

Petra Kvitova might have the highest rating of any player left in the women’s side of the draw in the Australian Open, but she certainly is a woman to watch out for. The 20 year old up and comer is going to take on the No. 2 ranked player in the world, Vera Zvonareva.

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Believe it or not, Kvitova is aiming for her second semifinal in a Grand Slam event, pulling off the feat at Wimbledon last year. Not bad for a 20 year old, eh? It hasn’t always been easy, but the Czech star has really had a great run to this point. In the third round, she disappointed the hometown crowd when she knocked out No. 5 Samantha Stosur, the top Aussie in this field, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3. Things might have been significantly different had she blown that tiebreaker, but that was really the turning point in the match. In the fourth round, Kvitova was up against it for a second time, dropping the first set to No. 22 Flavia Pennetta. However, she stormed back and won the final two sets, ending up with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory to reach the quarters. Kvitova is doing all of the little things that she needs to do to win matches. She might not have a great first service percentage in terms of getting shots in, but she has had three great matches out of four on her second serve. A whopping 43 unforced errors marred the three set win against Pennetta on Monday, and this is something that really needs to improve if she is going to knock off Zvonareva.

Zvonareva is one of the most unheralded players on the WTA Tour, and it almost seems like she is the forgotten star in this tournament. Part of the problem is that she has been the runner up in back to back Grand Slam tournaments and that she has never won. The Russian has only dropped one set en route to the quarterfinals. She hasn’t played a player that has been ranked better than No. 31 in the world, and she really had to struggle with Lucie Safarova has well, winning 6-3, 7-6 (11-9). The key for Zvonareva is going to be getting her first serves in. She really didn’t do all that well in her first few matches, but this fourth round showing against Iveta Benesova was fantastic. She put in 70 percent of her first serves and won two thirds of those points. The Russian has won over 70 percent of her first service points in this tournament, and though she isn’t playing that well on her second serve, but she has the goods, especially with eight aces, to put away any foe on the WTA Tour.

This one should be awfully close, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it takes all three sets to be able to decide it. We’re going to be Kvitova though, as she could be in store for the upset to march on to another semifinal.

Australian Open Free Pick: Petra Kvitova +160 at BetPhoenix

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The world’s second-largest automaker said Wednesday it earned $417 million, or 22 cents a share, in the April-June period versus a profit of $570 million, or 29 cents a share, a year earlier.

The consensus estimate on Wall Street was for earnings of 19 cents a share. The company reiterated its goal of earning 70 cents a share for the year, which would beat current estimates, despite saying it expects a wider loss than analysts anticipate for the third quarter.

Ford shares fell 65 cents, or 5.6 percent, to close at $10.99 on the New York Stock Exchange.

– Associated Press IBM MEETS QUARTERLY EARNINGS ESTIMATES NEW YORK — IBM Corp. announced Wednesday that its second-quarter earnings rose significantly and matched Wall Street’s expectations, driven largely by strong growth in the technology services division.

The company’s results were sure to be closely scrutinized by investors eager for signs of a broad recovery in the high-tech sector.

From April through June, IBM had net earnings of $1.7 billion, or 97 cents per share, up from $56 million, or 3 cents per share, in the comparable period last year. Last year’s figures were dragged down by $1.4 billion in one-time charges.

Taking discontinued operations out of the mix, IBM said it would have earned 98 cents per share, matching the forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

– Associated Press VIVENDI: $11.5B BID FROM MGM FALLS SHORT PARIS — Vivendi Universal turned down a bid for its show business empire from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., saying $11.5 billion wasn’t enough for coveted assets like Universal Studios and its theme parks, a source familiar with the talks said.

MGM had offered to sweeten an all-cash bid to $11.5 billion — but only if Vivendi agreed to a one-week ultimatum for more information about the companies it is selling.

The French media giant dismissed the offer as insufficient and said it didn’t want to cave in to pressure from MGM, said the source, who declined to be identified. Vivendi declined to comment.

– Associated Press HEARING ON HOME FINANCE GIANTS CANCELLED WASHINGTON — Officials of Freddie Mac, entangled in accounting problems, and Fannie Mae have failed to cooperate in a congressional inquiry into oversight of the big government-sponsored housing finance companies, a House lawmaker charged Wednesday.

But Freddie Mac, which ousted three top executives last month and is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors, insisted that it was ready and willing to make its officials available to testify at a House subcommittee hearing. Fannie Mae said it declined to participate because it has no specific knowledge of its smaller rival’s accounting troubles. see here ford motor stock

Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., chairman of the Financial Services panel, announced he was canceling the hearing scheduled for today and held out the possibility of issuing subpoenas to compel testimony of the two biggest companies in the multitrillion-dollar home mortgage market.

– Associated Press FEDERAL SUPPORT HELPS AIR CARRIER CUT LOSSES FORT WORTH, Texas — American Airlines’ parent company narrowed its second quarter loss to $75 million with help from war-related federal aid. The carrier also announced Wednesday that it would halve operations at its St. Louis hub.

The AMR Corp. loss equaled 47 cents per share and compared to a loss of $495 million, or $3.19 per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

– Associated Press

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