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US Open women - quarters betting

Most of my content for the next fortnight will be exclusive to TheShark.com.au - men's preview found here, so here's an extra piece to savour...

QUARTERS BETTING

With Serena Williams touching odds-on in places, then it's worth taking a look at the quarters betting to find some alternative betting options.

Q1:

Main seeds - Azarenka, Lisicki, Li, Clijsters, Stosur.

Potential surprises: Zheng, Goerges, Cirstea, Watson, Dellacqua

The main seeds should control this one. Azarenka won the Australian Open and will be desperate to retain her number one ranking. She also comes off low points - her record here in the past is terrible, only once into the fourth round, but there's no logical reason why that is the case. 6/4 is unders with that record.

Lisicki is enigmatic, best result of R4 here last year, potentially so much better but injuries often get in the way.16/1 is about right, certainly wouldn't want to be taking anything less.

Li has the best hardcourt form of anyone coming into this - she won Cincinnati and was runner-up in Montreal, the traditional Tier I lead-up events. She has employed a new coach recently after a string of poor results (R4 French, R2 Wimbledon, R1 Olympics) but is much, much better than that. The relief of a new coach also means a happier personal life as the strain of being coached by her husband was overwhelming at the end. 5/2 is a bet.

This is the last goodbye for Kim Clijsters before she retires for good (allegedly). She has only been a part-timer on the circuit this year and that has a big bearing on her results. Her body can no longer handle the demands of professional tennis and at around 6/1, I think she is unders in this market - will have to face Li, Stosur and Azarenka to win this section.

Sam Stosur faces a big drop in ranking if she doesn't go a long way here. This season she is 31-17, but only 4-5 since the end of the clay season. Her form was a lot stronger last season, and from this draw, she has a lot of work to do. 7/1 represents no value at all.

BET

1pt Li Na to win Q1 at 5/2 (BetVictor, Pinnacle)

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Q2

Main seeds: Sharapova, Kvitova

Surprise options: Safarova, Bartoli, Pavlyuchenkova, Wickmayer

I'd be shocked if the winner of this section doesn't come from Sharapova and Kvitova. Bartoli is the only other one in this quarter with the ability and form to string more than a couple of wins together. I'll be looking to oppose some of the other seeds in the section as early as R1.

Sharapova's form has been great this year, hopefully the embarrassment of the Olympic final won't play on her mind too much. Would prefer to have seen her play a hardcourt tournament in the lead-up, hasn't played a competitive match on it since March.

Kvitova has found a solution to her asthma problem which has hampered her in North America previously. She won Montreal, reached the semis in Cincinnati then won last week in New Haven. Lost R1 here last year, her worst Slam result of the past two years. I think she's the main danger to Williams for the title, and thus should be favourite in this section.

BET

1pt Kvitova to win Q2 6/4

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Q3

Main seed: Serena Williams

Surprise options: anyone else

Only way Serena loses this is if she breaks down. 1/7 or so is appropriate.

NO BET

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Q4

Main seeds: Kerber, Radwanska

Surprise options: V.Williams, Paszek, McHale, Errani, Cibulkova, Barthel, Vinci, Jankovic

Kerber sets the standard here, defending a semi-final result last year (defeating main danger Radwanska along the way), and reaching the final in Cincinnati recently (defeated Serena and Kvitova, lost to Li after leading a set and a break). Unknown a year ago, now she is feared by all.

Venus Williams has shown signs of form again in recent weeks, but does anyone really think she can string together five wins to reach the semis? I don't. Facing Kerber R2 will make her task very tough.

Paszek has started to realise the potential she has shown for many years, but hasn't had a great leadup with consecutive R1 losses. One was blamed on a migraine.

McHale retired in Cincinnati with a gastro problem, but has made great strides forward this year. Beat Bartoli here last year, could work the local media into a frenzy by cracking the second week. Has reached R3 in her last four Grand Slams, befitting her current ranking.

In light of Lance Armstrong's doping issues, it's worth mentioning the concern over Sara Errani. Her friendly doctor Luis Garcia Del Monal was the team doctor for the US Postal Service cycling team during the era of Lance Armstrong! Read here for more. The diminutive Italian's record this year has improved markedly, raising suspicions from several parties. The spotlight is now on her, will her results suffer under the pressure?

Cibulkova hasn't set the world alight this season, standing 31-22 for 2012. Take out the +9 differential from clay and she is treading water. Could be gone early.

Mona Barthel has slipped out of the seeded rankings with a few poor results in the big tournaments (R1 French Open, Wimbledon and Olympics) and gave a walkover at New Haven last week with a gastro illness. But her recent hardcourt results aren't bad at all - losing in a final set tiebreak to Radwanska in Montreal and 7-5 in the third to Kvitova in Cincinnati. This is a quarter she is capable of winning with a little bit of luck, 25/1 is juicy.

Roberta Vinci has been in solid form of late, handing out a couple of double bagels (Ivanovic and Jovanovski), beating Kerber in Montreal and then winning the (rather weak) Dallas event defeating Jankovic in the final. Her recent R4 result at Wimbledon was her best ever performance in a Grand Slam, this is the peak of her career. 50/1 with Ladbrokes is overs.

Jelena Jankovic is just a non-winner. Her run to the final at Dallas might raise a few people's hopes, but she bet only one player in the top 40 to get there, and immediately before that won one match in nine! Won't last long.

Aggie Radwanska had trouble with a shoulder injury at New Haven last week, not a good omen coming into this. She doesn't have any stars to beat in this quarter, but there are quite a few decent players who will exploit her if unable to do much more than roll her arm over. Record here is poor - 4x R2 and twice out in R4 so I doubt she should have been favourite for this quarter even if she was fit.

BETS

Some value to snip here, this could easily be the shock quarter.

0.5pt Barthel 25/1 general
0.25pt Vinci 50/1 Ladbrokes

I'll have a proper outright preview for TheShark.com.au tomorrow, it will mostly centre around the backing/laying prospects on Serena Williams.

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