Australian Open Tips: 'Aussie' Kim Clijsters too experienced for Azarenka

We have to show faith in the player who has been there and done it at Grand Slam level before and that means siding with Kim Clijsters over Victoria Azarenka. In the men's draw, expect first blood Federer, says Sean Calvert.

We were tantalisingly close to a clean-sweep on yesterday's wagers until David Ferrer capitulated in the final set to down one of my bets.

The dogged Spaniard was 4-2 up in the second set breaker and our overs bet was trading at 1.11/10 before he collapsed to lose the set and the next by 6-1, leaving us short of the mark by just two games.

My straight sets picks on Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova were successful though, so not a bad day overall.

On to Day 11 then and it's the women's semi finals and the first of the men's semi finals for the lucky ticket holders on Rod Laver Arena today.

First up it's Kim Clijsters v Victoria Azarenka and I like the defending champion in this one at a price of 2.0811/10.

A price of above even money for a player who is a proven champion, a great fighter and has a tremendous recent record at this tournament is too good to turn down against someone who, quite frankly, has it all still to prove.

Azarenka is favourite based on what the layers think she's going to achieve - and they might be right, but until she actually progresses further and wins a major there will always be a question mark against her.

She's had numerous chances but is yet to prove she can cut it at the business end of a Slam and only then will we throw off the tag of a 'flat track bully'.

'Aussie Kim' has won two of their last three meetings and four from six in all and although there are signs that Azarenka is maturing, this will be a real test as she'll be fighting the crowd as well as Clijsters and that could prove too much for the 22-year-old.

Afterwards it will be Maria Sharapova v Petra Kvitova and a wager to consider in that one is to back the three sets at a price of around 2.255/4.

The match is tough to call and there should be times when each player blows hot and cold and I have a feeling that it will go to a decider.

In the men's semi final at 8.30 am UK time on Thursday morning Roger Federer takes on Rafa Nadal for the 27th time and looks to overturn a poor record in Slams against his nemesis.

We all know what the tactics will be in this one, with Rafa trying to break down the Federer backhand with his heavily top spun ground strokes with Roger doubtless coming out firing from the start.

The odds of 1.684/6 are a little short on Federer for my liking when you consider his record against Nadal but that is balanced by the respective form of the two players over the last few months, where Fed has been markedly better.

As I said, I expect Federer to come out firing but I'm not totally convinced that he'll be able to hold on for potentially five sets, so the bet in this one is for Federer to win the first set at around 1.748/11.

Recommended Bets

Back Clijsters to beat Azarenka at 2.0811/10
Back three sets in Sharapova v Kvitova at 2.255/4
Back Federer to win the first set v Nadal at 1.748/11

Follow Sean on Twitter @seancalvert1

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