Williams v Li: Four bets to make some US Open profits

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Not content with three-from-three correct tips in Novak Djokovic’s US Open quarter-final triumph over Mikhail Youzhny, we are attempting to find four winners in the women’s semi-final showdown between Serena Williams and Na Li.

Given that she has won eight of their nine career meetings and each of the last seven, it is no surprise to see Williams priced up as the heavy favourite at 1/7 to reach, surprisingly, only her second Grand Slam final of the year.

The world number one has only dropped 13 games en route to this stage at Flushing Meadows too, but Li represents by far her biggest challenge, largely because she can joust with Williams from the baseline in a way that few others can.

Looking back through their previous meetings, Williams has not truly dominated any and Li has taken at least eight games on each occasion.

Therefore, backing the 2/5 that this meeting witnesses over 17.5 games looks like free money and backing over 19.5 games in total at 8/11 is a reasonable price.

What is also noticeable is that a tie-break has featured in five of their last seven meetings, with the other two having a set that has required 12 games to find a winner.

Another tie-break here can be backed at an enticing 3/1 and the fact that Li is coached by Carlos Rodriguez should help ensure it stays close, as he has shown in the past with Justine Henin that he can formulate game plans to keep Williams off-guard.

Given that Li has served more aces than any other woman at the US Open and that Williams has the most complete serve in women’s tennis, logic would suggest that a high number of aces should be expected here.

However, only five aces have been served combined across their last two head-to-heads and so the 5/6 offered for under 8.5 aces looks a profitable call.

Finally, while aces have been in short supply in recent meetings, the double fault count has gone through the roof, with 27 accrued in the last two matches.

Seven or more double faults here is nicely priced at 5/6 and Li would have landed this bet on her own in her quarter-final triumph over Ekaterina Makarova.

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

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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.