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Sharapova puts clay court record on line against Azarenka in Rome


The Rome Masters Italian Open event reaches the quarter-final stage with top men's seeds Djokovic, Federer and Nadal also in action.

Although it’s seven wins apiece in previous head-to-heads between Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, a best price of 4/1 with BetVictor to win the WTA ladies’ singles event in Rome, the Russian star has a 100 per cent record against this opponent on clay.

Sharapova puts her undefeated streak on this surface when paired with Azarenka on the line in this quarter-final clash, though remains odds-on 3/5 favourite with the same bookmaker to beat her Belarusian opponent again.

Ranked well below the Russian sensation in the WTA world standings, Azarenka is decent value at 7/5 with Betway to upset Sharapova. Ladbrokes, meanwhile, offer a top price of 6/4 on their latest meeting going to three sets.

In the ATP men’s singles quarter-finals, second seed and Swiss tennis star Roger Federer (top price of 12/1 with Ladbrokes to be Rome Masters champion) is 13-6 up on Czech opponent Tomas Berdych. The Grand Slam great is thus naturally odds-on at a best bet of 1/2 with Boylesports to defeat the man ranked seventh in the world.

None of Berdych’s wins over Federer have come on clay, but he is 9/5 with BetVictor to record one here. When he has defeated the sensation from Swizterland, it has usually gone the distance. Backing Berdych to win in three sets is a nifty 9/2 with Paddy Power.

World number one Novak Djokovic faces fifth seed Kei Nishikori, and only holds a slender 3-2 head-to-head advantage over the Japanese tennis ace. Nonetheless, the Serbia star is odds-on at 2/9 with Coral and William Hill to make his ranking tell.

For Djokovic to win in three sets, take tasty top odds of 10/3 with Ladbrokes with nimble Nishikori set to push the reigning Australia Open champion close.

‘The King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, will want to reassert his dominance of his favoured surface, having slumped to a Madrid Masters final defeat to Andy Murray in straight sets. Here, the Spaniard faces Swiss number two Stan Wawrinka, and has run roughshod im their previous meetings, holding a 12-1 head-to-head lead.

Wawrinka beat Nadal in their last encounter, however, and is 4/1 with Boylesports to repeat that upset. Nadal is naturally odds-on at 2/9 with BetVictor to advance to the semis, and best-price 3/1 second-favourite with Paddy Power to win the Italian Open crown and become Master of Rome for an eighth time.

Betting tip: Rafael Nadal wins Italian Open/Rome Masters men’s singles title @ 3/1 with Paddy Power

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