Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Australian Open - Second Round (I)

Fernando Verdasco is a player The Overrule is looking to oppose this year and his match-up with Xavier Malisse in the second round of the Australian Open presents an opportunity to do so. David Goffin was a popular pick to take down Verdasco in the first round, but the Spaniard saw him off in five sets. Malisse took Verdasco out at Wimbledon last year and he can make life very difficult for his lefty opponent again.

Originally I wasn't happy with Malisse's starting price (EVS), but the market has caused him to drift out to a price that is more in the range I was hoping for to begin with.

1* Xavier Malisse beat Fernando Verdasco @ 11/8 (Victor Chandler)

Maria Sharapova wasted no time at all in first round action against Olga Puchkova delivering a double bagel to her Russian counterpart in less than an hour. The self-proclaimed "sugarmama" can serve up some more baked goods for her second round opponent Misaki Doi. Handicaps and under total games has been a consistent bread winner in recent years in early round action of Grand Slams on neutral surfaces in the women's game. This has been the case, particularly, at the US Open, but also prevalent at the Australian Open at times. 

The top women often have far too heavy an arsenal for early round opponents to cope with, given the respective match-ups, and the likes of Sharapova, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka rarely look to waste time or energy by being kept on court any longer than needs be while they can help it. 

The best way to take advantage has usually been on alternative handicaps and alternative game lines in-running, but opportunities also present themselves pre-match, and that is what we have here on the handicap. I wouldn't put anyone off dutching a 6-0 first set at 7/1 with a 6-1 first set at 7/2 either, but we'll give ourselves more leeway at the shorter price of EVS for Sharapova to cover a -7.5 games start. 

 3* Maria Sharapova (-7.5) games beat Misaki Doi @ EVS (Paddy Power)

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