De facto world #1, lefty Petra Kvitova (above) of the Czech Republic.

We are sensing a theme to the Vegas lines on all of the semi-finals action tonight, which includes both women’s matches and the Federer-Nadal match.  It seems like Vegas is paying a great, great deal of respect to the bigger name, in each matchup.  Essentially, the player with more major victories is weighted a lot more heavily in each matchup.  Starting with the under card, which could be a headliner on it’s own.  Odds below:

2012 Australian Open Ladies 1st Semi-final — 9:30 PM EST

Clijsters:  – 110

Azarenka:  – 110

………

We like Azarenka.  A lot.  Sure we have been watching Clijsters matches and we could not be more impressed with how she strapped it up after rolling her ankle against Na Li, and then, how she clobbered Wozniacki.  We aren’t surprised.  But Azarenka is the best player that Clijsters has played in a long time, and she is playing the best tennis of anyone that Clijsters has played in a long time.  While Clijsters has a 4-2 lead in the h2h, Azarenka has played Clijsters very tough, even before she was the player she now is.  Azarenka won their last matchup, on a soft, slow hardcourt in Miami, very similar conditions.  And Azarenka, dating back to the fall has not lost to anyone except Kvitova, twice, and those matches were very close, coming down to a few points here or there.  Vegas likes what is tried and true.  Azarenka, wethinks, is not totally on the radar.  And obviously Clijsters has a very good chance to win.  But we feel the guard is changing, and that Azarenka is a new it player, soon to get her due.  Like tonight, and then on to her 1st major final on Saturday.

Australian Open Ladies 2nd Semi-final — 11:30 PM EST

Kvitova:  – 135

Sharapova:  – 105

……

So first off, we don’t get how Sharapova has a negative money line here.  She is the worse player, no doubt about it.  None.  Kvitova has been unbeatable, and has played very clutch, very smart, and very efficient tennis, in winning the YEC, the Fed Cup, and in beating Sharapova easily at Wimbledon.  You know, we are kind of tired of hearing about Sharapova and extremely tired of hearing Chris Evert blather on about her, about all of them, about everything.  We liked it much better before ESPN broke her out of the moth balls.  Evert is in love with Sharapova, predicting her for majors this year and whatnot…we don’t see it.  Serena aside, this is a young women’s game.  Younger women’s game.  And Sharapova looks older in this matchup.  This is not another Makarova matchup.  Kvitova will take Sharapova’s time away and that will be that.  In fact, we like her very much in specific, to win in two sets. There is nothing that Sharapova does that Kvitova can’t do much better, and some things Kvitova does, Sharapova doesn’t do at all.  Like volley.

And so in our minds, the rightful final will be a rematch of the YEC final, where Kvitova takes the hardware.  But first, they need to take care of business tonight.  We’re betting they will.

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