Australian Open: Expect a classic as Berdych and Murray clash

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The wheat has been separated from the chaff and the elite have made their way into the semi-final stage of the Australian Open, with the stakes bigger than ever.

And as the world’s best take to the court in the Rod Laver Arena, we are hoping for some big wins ourselves.

There’s still hope for Andy Murray, while we see relatively straightforward wins for two female icons of the court in a very tempting 23/1 treble.

But if you are somewhat risk averse, then a dabble on these three bets as singles looks great value.

Maria Sharapova to beat Ekaterina Makarova 2-0 @ 4/7

We are guaranteed a Russia vs USA final on the women’s side of the draw, and we fancy the former champ to book he place to represent the Russian side of the deal in straight sets.

Maria Sharapova has looked imperious at times in this tournament, dropping just 10 games in here last three matches.

Her head-to head record with compatriot Ekaterina Makarova is pretty steady reading for the 27-year-old.

She has beaten Makarova on all five previous meetings, in straight sets on the trio of contests on a hard court, and we expect the same again.

Serena Williams to beat Madison Keys 2-1 @ 7/2

Having overcome Venus Williams in the quarters, Madison Keys will have her sights firmly locked on her more decorated sister in the last four.

And although we see Serena’s quality is likely to be enough to see her through, the 19-year-old upstart is more than capable of taking a set off her.

Coached by Lindsay Davenport, Keys will have had all of her opponent’s strengths and weaknesses explained to her by the former Grand Slam winner.

Williams is reported suffering from a virus as well, so could be prone to the odd mistake.

Overall though, she was showing no signs of fatigue against Dominika Cibulkova in the last eight and can see off her next challenger here again.

Tomas Berdych v Andy Murray to go to five sets @ 12/5

This could be a match verging on a classic, so evenly matched are these two.

Both are in top form this year; Tomas Berdych has not dropped a set yet in Melbourne, while Andy Murray is keeping British hopes alive, winning his last 11 matches in all competitions.

Their head-to-head record doesn’t shed much light on the situation either, with the Czech leading 6-4, but the scores tied at 2-2 on a hard court.

With nothing between them, this could be an epic game of tug of war, that looks value to go all the way to a deciding set.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.