Australian Open women’s singles round 4: Konta cruises to meet Makarova
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | January 23, 2016
2016 Australian Open
- Women’s singles round four
- Sunday and Monday, January 24th-25th
- Play scheduled to start: 00:00 GMT
- Melbourne Park, Melbourne
- Live on Eurosport 1 and 2
Konta continues rampant run
Britain’s own Johanna Konta, born in Sydney, is still yet to drop a set this 2016 Australian Open as she came through latest opponent Denisa Allertova with ease to set up a meeting with 21st seed Ekaterina Makarova.
Although Konta has already defeated eighth seed Venus Williams in the first round, she avoided clashes with Sabine Lisicki (30) and Karolina Pliskova getting to this stage.
But Coral rate Makarova as the 8/15 favourite being a former world number eight and finalist here last year, despite Konta (6/4) winning their only meeting which came in Eastbourne a few months ago. The British number one is a tasty 7/2 shout to triumph 2-1.
Serena and Azarenka on course for final date
Like Konta, defending champion Serena Williams is yet to drop a set, and has lost just five games in her last two matches.
The American (1/20 favourite) great has only met next challenger Margarita Gasparyan (9/1), the world number 58, once before, and defeated her 2-0 (1/5 for that scoreline once more).
Fellow former multiple Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka (1/16), on the other hand, has dropped just five games all tournament (from three matches). And she next faces Barbora Strycova (8/1), who she knocked out in the last two editions of this event, but who just eliminated third seed Garbine Muguruza.
However, the Belarusian should make light work of the Czech too, having won all four of their previous head-to-heads (all on hard surface). If you fancy a tasty bet, Azarenka has taken the second set 6-4 in three of those battles, so odds of 5/1 say she’ll do so again.
Bencic battles Sharapova in clash of the round
Although this is their first ever meeting, both Swiss teenage sensation Belinda Bencic (9/4) and five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova (4/11) needed three sets to come through round three matches, and this is expected to go all the way too.
Tempting odds of 11/8 say the match will be over 2.5 sets, and a price of 12/5 for there to be at least one tie-break.
German stars aplenty in action
Seventh seed Angelique Kerber (1/12) leads the way being one of three Germans left in the draw, and she comes up against compatriot Annika Beck (13/2).
This is the first-ever meeting between the pair, but it is difficult to see anything other than a Kerber win, which would be her maiden quarter-final appearance here.
Anna-Lena Friedsam (7/1) is the other German in action, but is likely to be toppled by Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska (14/1), who won their only previous duel recently in China in straight sets.
Seeds Suarez Navarro and Keys also feature
Elsewhere, 2013 quarter-finalist Carla Suarez Navarro (4/5) faces being upset by Russian-born Australian Daria Gavrilova (evens), who has already knocked out other seeds Petra Kvitova and Kristina Mladenovic.
Spaniard Suarez Navarro won their only previous clash in 2014, but back Gavrilova at 10/3 for a 2-1 victory.
Finally, Madison Keys (4/7) edged former finalist Ana Ivanovic in three sets, and next faces Chinese qualifier Zhang Shuai (11/8) who has continued her incredible run with Varvara Lepchenko being her latest scalp.
Coral’s top tip: Konta is a fantastic 7/2 shout to beat Makarova 2-1.