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Australian Open Semi Final: Djokovic to continue hard court dominance over Ferrer

Sean thinks we'll be seeing more of this in Melbourne tonight from Djokovic

"Ferrer doesn't have the raw power off both wings of someone like Stan Wawrinka..and I can't find a way that he wins this match barring injury to his opponent.."

Back Djokovic -7.5 games to beat Ferrer at 2.3411/8

Sean Calvert is putting in the hours keeping tabs on the Australian Open. It's the start of the semi finals tonight and Sean fancies Djokovic to have few problems with David Ferrer..

Tuesday wasn't the best for my wagers in what was a frustrating night of tennis at Melbourne Park.

I said yesterday that the outcome of the Andy Murray match - or more specifically the margin of victory - would depend on which Jeremy Chardy showed up and unfortunately for 3-1 backers it was the error ridden incarnation of the Frenchman who arrived on Rod Laver Arena.

Before that, Sveta Kuznetsova was playing well and moved into a 4-1 lead over Vika Azarenka, but she fell apart and lost 12 of the next 14 games as the errors crept into her play. It also put paid to my overs bet.

Hopefully, tonight's play will bring better fortune and the morning's action will see Novak Djokovic take on David Ferrer for the 15th time in total and for the ninth time on a hard court (not counting exhibitions).

Djokovic has won the lot (including the exhibitions) and the Spaniard has managed to win just the one set in total in all of those past encounters on hard courts.

All of which gives us a heavy odds-on favourite at around 1.10 and it's very hard to see anything other than a Djokovic win in either three or four sets again when this one begins at 8.30am UK time on Thursday morning.

Ferrer should count himself rather fortunate to be in the last four at all, as it was only due to another mental meltdown by Nico Almagro that Ferrer lines up in the semi finals.

The indefatigable Spaniard was outplayed by Almagro for most of their quarter final, who failed on three separate occasions to serve the match out and eventually crumbled in five.

Ferrer doesn't have the raw power off both wings of someone like Stan Wawrinka, who pushed Djokovic to the limit earlier in the tournament and I can't find a way that he wins this match barring injury to his opponent.

The options for me are either the straight sets win at 1.9520/21 or the handicap of minus 7.5 games at 2.3411/8 and I prefer the latter, as the fact is that Djokovic has won just one of his last seven Slam semi finals in straight sets - the French Open last year against Roger Federer.

The night session kicks off with the women's semi finals and Azarenka's reward for her comeback win over Kuznetsova is not what she was expecting - a first career meeting with Sloane Stephens.

And I don't see the defending champion putting a beatdown on the 19-year-old as odds of around 1.132/15 would suggest.

Stephens will be buzzing after defeating her idol Serena Williams last night and despite the obvious injuries to the 15 time major champion it was still a fine performance from Sloane.

For me Vika hasn't been as impressive as others in the women's draw and Kuznetsova should have pushed her much closer last night. Stephens is more consistent than Sveta, but she is due a letdown after a fine tournament, which is a concern.

I'm of the view that Stephens can push Azarenka in this one and I think the value is to back her with a 5.5 game start on the handicap.

Azarenka has never won a Grand Slam semi final by more of a margin than three games and if the nerves don't cripple her - and I don't think they will - Stephens can test the defending champion.

Recommended Bets
Back Djokovic -7.5 games to beat Ferrer at 2.3411/8
Back Stephens +5.5 games to beat Azarenka at 2.1211/10

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23 January 2013

Australian Open

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