Maria Sharapova may be the darling of the WTA Tour but she faces a battle winning over punters on Saturday because a lot are on Petra Kvitova to win the tournament.
Sharapova may be the 8/15 favourite to win Saurday’s final but Kvitova was the subject of a number of bets pre-tournament as punters identified the Czech as the dark horse of the competition.
Kvitova has already been the subject of a small gamble with the Czech available at 13/8 having opened at 7/4 and instead of laying off their pre-tournament gamble, punters are prepared to increase their gamble on Kvitova.
The two have met just once before and Sharapova ran out the comfortable 6-4, 6-3 winner in Memphis last year, and while Sharapova will take confidence from that result, the hard court match seems pretty irrelevant.
What we should be focusing on is the form of the two players over the past fortnight and it’s hard to argue with Sharapova’s considering she is yet to drop a set.
Kvitova has dropped two sets in her last two matches and that coincides with the Czech facing her toughest opponents in the draw, but Sharapova has struggled in just the one set so far, winning a tiebreak with Laura Robson.
Both are very powerful players but preference has to be with Sharapova who has found her best form this year and her experience will stand her in good stead ahead of Saturday’s final.
There’s no doubt Sharapova has her work cut out on Saturday and while her win over Sabine Lisicki in the semi-final looks comfortable on paper, the Russian served 13 double faults and hit 18 unforced errors.
Should she gift Kvitova points in the final then we’re in for a classic and the power of Kvitova suggests that Sharapova will come under plenty of pressure.
On that basis Sharapova looks the pick of the market at 3/1 to win 2/1 and punters should take a load of the 5/6 for over 22.5 games.