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Friday, 27 January 2012

Australian Open Day 13 Pick- Azarenka v Sharapova

So we are in the final couple of days of the Australian Open and it does seem strange that the first Grand Slam of the season is almost over.

I think this has been a pretty solid tournament on both sides of the draw and bodes well for another strong season on the tennis circuit in 2012. With most of the top players now just about ready to take a couple weeks off, I think we are going to be treated to a couple of solid Finals to whet our appetite for the rest of the year.

Women's Final Pick
Victoria Azarenka v Maria Sharapova: I am really looking forward to this Final as I think the two best players in the draw this year are taking their rightful place, while the additional bonus of the winner being crowned the new World Number 1 is brilliant news for the Women's game.

This should be a fascinating match between two players that very much like to dictate the points from the back of the court, and it could be the more consistent of the two that wins the Grand Slam.

I think Victoria Azarenka is the more consistent of the two players and I think her movement is going to be the key to the match as the slower courts in Australia should allow her to get involved in more rallies and also force Sharapova to hit one shot more than she may want to on the vast majority of occasions.

The other real issue here is the Sharapova serve that can break down, especially giving away far too many double-faults and that could mean the Russian is under pressure against her younger opponent for much of the match.

The intangibles here are how Azarenka copes with playing in her first Grand Slam Final, but I think she has a lot of belief in her game and that she can cope with Sharapova.

It is telling that the younger player has won 2 of the last 3 meetings against one another, the other being a Sharapova win when Azarenka was forced to retire. More importantly, it says something that Azarenka has won the last 5 full sets that these players have competed in.

Now I already backed Azarenka in the outright markets so I see no need to load up on her again here- I also feel she is the more likely winner of this match so I will not be laying her price or backing Sharapova to cover the outright pick.

With that in mind, I am actually thinking that I will have a small interest in Azarenka to get the better of her nerves and win this match in straight sets... Sharapova's last 5 Grand Slam Finals has ended in straight sets, either with her winning or losing, while Azarenka has won the last 5 sets they have played.

I think there will be a few breaks of serve in this one, but I believe Azarenka will come through 6-4, 6-2.

I am considering doing a live blog during the Final tomorrow and see how it goes... I will post a link to the thread on my Twitter if I decide to go forward with that and I do hope a few of you viewers will join me.

It will just be a few of my thoughts jotted down with live updates of how the match is going. Hope a few of you guys grab a read tomorrow, even if the majority of you will have access to watch it on TV yourselves.

MY PICK: Victoria Azarenka win 2-0 in sets @ 3.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)

Australian Open Update: 20-15, + 14.76 Units

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