Little trouble for Williams and Azarenka reaching Australian Open semis

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Like Maria Sharapova and Na Li, we didn’t put a foot wrong in finding winning bets in the first two quarter finals of the Australian Open and we are hoping for more of the same when the remainder of the last-eight action takes place in Melbourne.

Leading the way is Serena Williams as she faces another American Laura Robson’s conqueror Sloane Stephens, while world number one Victoria Azarenka steps on court with a rejuvenated Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Serena Williams (-7.5 games) to beat Sloane Stephens @ 1/1

Williams has covered this handicap line in all four of her victories at the Australian Open so far, dropping only eight games in reaching this stage.

The last player to get more than four games off Williams was Stephens earlier this month in Brisbane when an attacking, free-swinging strategy made life difficult for her more experienced opponent, especially in the first set.

However, Williams is liable to play to a higher level at a Grand Slam and it is unlikely that the world’s highest-ranked teenager will live with this.

With this match looking so one-sided there is little else offering much betting value, although one possible market is the 2/7 that Williams is the first of the pair to hold to love in one of their service games.

Victoria Azarenka to beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 2-0 @ 2/5

The clue is in her name for Kuznetsova, as if she has any chance of beating Azarenka then she must take every opportunity to come into the net and keep rallies short.

If she tries to take on the Azarenka barrage of power strokes from the baseline, Kuznetsova is fighting a losing battle.

Kuznetsova does hold the head-to-head advantage here, but only two matches have taken place since 2009 and Azarenka has won both in straight sets.

Meanwhile, the only one of these on a hard court at Indian Wells last year ended with Kuznetsova managing to win just three games.

Her form has improved since, but 4/5 still also looks worth taking that Azarenka reaches the semi finals even if conceding a handicap of 5.5 games.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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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.