Day 9 Womens – Favourites face a real battle for semi-final spot

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That 16/1 pre-tournament price for Victoria Azarenka winning Wimbledon is looking pretty tasty right about now with the Belorussian the one certainty in today’s Wimbledon action.

Azarenka is 1/7 to beat the world number 80 Tamira Paszek today and while Paszek knocked out French Open finalist Francesca Schiavone, her route to the quarter-final has been relatively simple.

Azarenka is the highest seed left in the draw and her grass court form is a lot stronger than Schiavone’s and the Belorussian looks plenty of value at 4/9 to win 2-0.

Maria Sharapova vs Dominika Cibulkova

Sharapova would have been expecting to face world number one Caroline Wozniacki in today’s quarter-final but instead the Russian faces an opponent who has had the measure of Sharapova on the last two occasions.

Cibulkova and Sharapova have met four times – all on clay – and have each won twice but Cibulkova has won both of the last two meetings in straight sets, including in Madrid earlier this year and this is a real test for Sharapova.

The Wimbledon favourite is 1/4 to beat Cibulkova but the odds should be a lot closer than that and Cibulkova may hold all of the value at 3/1.

Sharapova is yet to drop a set in this tournament but is likely to do so today and the best bet may be the 13/8 for three sets.

Sabine Lisicki vs Marion Bartoli

Lisicki has been a revelation at Wimbledon this year and the big-serving youngster may just have what it takes to oust Bartoli today.

It’s the tightest betting market of the day with both players 10/11 to win, but Lisicki boasts two wins to Bartoli’s one in head-to-heads and that includes a recent victory in April.

Bartoli has won their only match on clay and picking the winner is a difficult task so take the 6/5 for a three-set match.

Petra Kvitova vs Tvestana Pironkova

Kvitova shot up the women’s Wimbledon betting yesterday to battle Sharapova for favouritism following the exits of the Williams sisters and Wozniacki, but in Pironkova she faces an opponent who has beaten Venus Williams and Vera Zvonareva in her last two starts.

Pironkova has been in immaculate form over the past eight days and she looks incredible value at 5/2 to win despite having failed to beat Kvitova in two starts.

Kvitova has had a relatively easy route through the rounds so far and Pironkova’s class will be the toughest she has faced this week, and the 3/10 for Kvitova to win looks poor value.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.