Juan Martin Del Potro (foreground) holding the one major trophy in his possession which he won from down two sets to one versus Roger Federer (background) at the US Open in 2009.

Azarenka:  – 290

Radwanska:  + 230

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Wozniacki:  – 140

Clijsters:  + 120

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Del Potro:  + 260

Federer:  – 340

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Djokovic:  – 900

Ferrer:  + 600

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Murray:  – 1200

Nishikori:  + 750

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Berdych:  + 300

Nadal:  – 400

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Makarova:  + 325

Sharapova:  – 450

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Errani:  + 650

Kvitova:  -1000

………..

Let’s start at the top.  Radwanska has improved a great deal in the last year.  We’ve been impressed, and have begun to view her in a bit of a different light.  She still has severe limitations in terms of the weaponry, and almost went home very early when Mattek-Sands stepped to her in round one.  The two played an epic first set breaker which Sands took 12-10, but then Sands peetered out.  That’s the rightful outcome.  Radwanska has the better body, better speed and footwork, and the better overall game.  But even on this slower than clay, disgusting blue Plexicushion, the American got to net and dominated up there and with her touch, for about an hour and twenty minutes.  That is Radwanska’s blueprint for victory, after all.  We highly doubt that’s happening against Azarenka, who will probably end this year as the world #2.

Azarenka is mauling people.  She can get everything back that Radwanska can, and she can also hit winners off the forehand and generate offense with her first serve.  She is winning a major in the near future, and she is winning this match tonight, though we aren’t betting against Kvitova this week.  Azarenka may have second claim to the next few majors, but Kvitova is the best player in the world right now, bar none, and she has first dibs.  We are kicking ourselves right now for not taking her in the pre-tournament phase at + 250, but more on her later.  Azarenka has taken 5 of the last six in the head to head with Radwanska, does everything better, stronger, and with a little flair.  We hate negative money lines, but even so, Azarenka is money in the bank at -290.

We are not Clijsters fans, hate the counter punch style, hate the belly fat, the pasty skin, the hairy neck, the whole deal.  But we respect her.  She is the defending champion here, and will be until she no longer is.  And not a sprained ankle, not 4 MP’s for Li Na, none of it makes a difference until she loses.  For that matter, we are still waiting for her to lose at the US Open, where she has quite a match streak going.  Did we respect the recent track record?  No.  But you can throw it out the window with Clijsters because she has stepped on the court and out of oblivion and won majors before and very few people have done that.  That said, as far as Belgians go, we’d take Henin and her beautiful style over Clijsters ugly grunt work.  But tonight, Clijsters is more beautiful than Wozniacki when it comes to tennis.  She is 2-0 lifetime versus Wozniacki, who, we’ll mention again, is nothing if not over-rated.  But maybe the ankle bothers Clijsters and maybe Wozniacki is going to outrun her tonight, but we’ll believe it when we see it.  We don’t like taking injured tennis players, so we aren’t touching this one, but Clijsters is gonna be tough out no matter what, and we’d even like to see her win because Wozniacki hasn’t earned her ranking.

Speaking of injuries, Roger has played some good tennis, hasn’t he?  But we actually don’t like him too much in this spot.  Remember, we always look for the positive money lines, and we don’t like injuries in one on one contests.  Also, the image of Del Potro, all the way back, and taking Nadal to 5 sets on very slow clay this fall in Davis Cup looms large.  This guy is a big time player.  He has the power to hit through this awful, gritty, tacky, gross court.  And he gives Roger lots of trouble when on, like he did in the SF at RG in 2009 and in the Final of the USO in 2009.  Del Potro is a better player than Tsonga and Berdych, the guys who took Roger out in major quarter-finals.  We are playing Del Potro tonight, and we’d say if he wins, he will have a better shot against Nadal than Federer would in the semi-final.

The other matches don’t excite us.  We think Berdych might be worth a lark at + 300 but really, we can’t see him winning.  Betting against Djokovic would be suicidal.  Kvitova as well.  Makarova may have a little shot.  She also may suffer a letdown.  And Murray seems too strong for Nishikori.  We shall see.

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