More of the same expected from Sharapova at Australian Open

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Maria Sharapova has been by far the most dominant force at the Australian Open to date and there seems little to suggest that this will not continue in the quarter finals when facing fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

The other quarter final of the day is perhaps the toughest to call, with Agnieszka Radwanska taking on Nai Li.

Li to beat Radwanska @ 6/4

Radwanska has been flying in 2013, unbeaten in all 13 matches in a run that includes two tournament victories. One of these wins came against Li in Sydney.

Both have failed to drop a set en route to the quarter finals and are fairly equally matched on court.

Li narrowly leads the head-to-head record, but interestingly lost the first meeting of the two last year before reeling off three straight victories.

The big deciding factor could prove to be who serves best, particularly as Radwanska’s serve is the more attackable.

If Li can return well and utilise her bigger hitting sufficiently, she can triumph and backing the underdog in such a close encounter is the better play.

The key for Radwanska is to keep mixing up the speed of her returns, as she is arguably the best in the game for quick switching between defence and attack and preventing opponents getting into a rhythm on court.

Interestingly, all of the last four and six of the last seven showdowns between this pair have been won in straight sets and it is 1/2 that this quarter final follows suit.

Makarova v Sharapova: Under 17.5 games @ 5/6

This looks one of the easiest predictions, with Sharapova blitzing everyone put in front of her in Melbourne thus far, beating Venus Williams 6-3, 6-1 and dropping a combined one game against Olga Puchkova, Misaki Doi and Kirsten Flipkens.

Sharapova also holds a perfect 4-0 record over Makarova, which includes a victory at this stage of the Australian Open 12 months ago.

On that occasion, Sharapova coasted to victory and dropped just five games in the process, a repeat would be enough this time to land the 5/6 that this match features less than 17.5 games.

This looks a more profitable punt than the 1/6 that Sharapova continues her run of straight-set victories.

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.