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WTA Sony Open Betting: Williams sisters set to march on

Elder sister Venus has a slightly trickier tie to prepare for, as she takes on Florida-native Sloane Stephens

"The pair have never met before, and ranked 18th and 16th in the world respectively, it promises to be an intriguing clash that has the potential of an upset being caused"

Things are progressing quickly over in Miami, as the Sony Open reaches the third round and serves up some interesting matches. With all the top seeds avoiding any early slip-ups, there could be some heavyweight clashes ahead if Saturday goes according to plan.

The bottom half of the draw certainly opened up on Friday with the news that Victoria Azarenka had withdrawn due to injury. However, Saturday's ties concern the top half, which includes the Williams sisters and defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska.

Having recently returned to world number one, Serena Williams looked in formidable form in the second round, brushing aside Flavia Pennetta. The American dropped just two games en route to setting up a third round meeting with Ayumi Morita.

Despite already claiming the scalp of British hopeful Heather Watson and no.31 seed Yanina Wickmayer, it is highly unlikely that Morita's tournament will extend past this weekend, as there is little anyone can do against Serena in this form. Expect another comfortable win, as the march toward a sixth title in Miami goes on.

Elder sister Venus has a slightly trickier tie to prepare for, as she takes on Florida-native Sloane Stephens. The pair have never met before, and ranked 18th and 16th in the world respectively, it promises to be an intriguing clash that has the potential of an upset being caused. Both ladies came through in three sets in their second round matches, and there is a possibility it will take something similar to split them on Saturday.

Defending champion and fourth seed Radwanska had a slightly more straight forward path to this stage, disposing of Su-Wei Hsieh in straight sets. She now faces Magdalene Rybarikova with a place in the next round at stake, and has a favourable head-to-head record. The Slovakian's only win against the world number four came back in 2006, with Radwanska winning the other three meetings without dropping a set.

The Polish star is a strong favourite to progress as reflected in her favourable match odds, but she will hope to do so comfortably.

Elsewhere Petra Kvitova takes on 30th seed Kirsten Flipkens with the latter coming through untroubled in the last round. In contrast, Kvitova had a scare after dropping the first set to Shuai Peng, but stormed back in the sets that followed to book her place in the third round.

The same can also be said for Caroline Wozniacki, who also fell behind before making a comeback. The Danish ninth seed is widely expected to encounter few problems when she takes on wildcard entrant Garbine Muguruza, and is a safe bet to triumph.

In the other stand-out games of the day, Na Li is back in action as she takes on Varvara Lepchenko. The world number five returned from a prolonged lay-off to feature in Miami, and made short work of Kiki Bertens in the last round.

Lepchenko will likely pose a stronger threat, but Li will be confident of demonstrating why she is indeed a strong favourite for the tournament.

Andrea Petkovic has made a splash so far this week, progressing against the odds to face fellow wildcard Ajla Tomljanovic. The German ace benefited from a retirement in the last round, but she will undoubtedly be highly motivated to continue her comeback with a potential meeting with Kvitova on offer.

Recommended Bets
Li to beat Lepchenko 2-1 @ 4.94/1
Petkovic to beat Tomljanovic @ 1.364/11
Wozniacki to beat Muguruza 2-0 @ 1.645/8
Venus Williams to beat Stephens @ 1.684/6
Radwanska to beat Rybarikova 2-0 @ 1.444/9

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23 March 2013

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