We just about avoided a wipeout in the last round thanks to Shuai Zhang’s continuing heroics although that was, in part, due to injury to Madison Keys. I’m a big fan of the American but this isn’t the first time her body has let her down at the start of the second week of a Slam and, despite her obvious talent, she is becoming one to avoid in the latter stages.

Back to the players who are left and I’m tempted to keep the stakes small as it’s frankly hard to predict how any of these matches will go. In the men’s, Milos Raonic is one match away from landing our quarter bet but he now faces Gael Monfils who, like Stan Wawrinka before him, takes a 100 percent head-to-head record into their clash.

Raonic is a better player than when they last met some two and a half years ago but Monfils is playing well and his shot-making gives him a chance against a big server. The odds make a small bet on Monfils to win worthwhile.

David Ferrer could give Andy Murray something to think about in their quarter-final. The Spaniard struggled with elbow issues last year and I think that is a definite factor in Murray’s recent head-to-head dominance. Ferrer is yet to drop a set in Melbourne and, while I think Murray will prevail, 7-4 about Ferrer +1.5 sets is fair.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic should have little trouble with Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori respectively but I could see both underdogs nicking a set and I’m not confident enough to get involved.
Gael Monfils to beat Milos Raonic - 1pt @ 44/19
David Ferrer +1.5 sets v Andy Murray - 1pt @ 7/4
Onto the women’s where the highlight sees Serena Williams come up against old foe Maria Sharapova. I agree with the bookies making the Russian a big outsider but, despite her less than stellar form, she is a fighter and will not lie down easily. For that reason, I couldn’t suggest a bet.

I am surprised Agnieszka Radwanska is such a strong favourite against Carla Suarez Navarro. The Spaniard did really well to come back from a first-set bagel against Daria Gavrilova and she won the last time the pair met. The Pole almost went out to Anna-Lena Friedsam in the previous round and she does have issues in matches she is expected to win. Suarez Navarro +1.5 sets is a play.

I have no idea how Johanna Konta’s clash with Shuai Zhang will play out but I do expect Victoria Azarenka to deal with Angelique Kerber reasonably comfortably. In my previous write-up I said she was playing Barbora Strycova for the first time. They had, of course, met four times previously when Strycova was Zahlavova-Strycova and Azarenka had won all four. I'll be more careful with Matchstat from now on, but I still wouldn’t have had a bet.

Anyway, Azarenka demolished the German in Brisbane and I expect her to do similar here. The odds about an Azarenka win in straight sets are a bit too short for my liking but I will play her to win the first set 6-0 and 6-1 to small stakes. The second set may also be worth a go in-play.
Carla Suarez Navarro +1.5 sets v Agnieszka Radwanska - 2pts @ 1/1
Victoria Azarenka to win first set 6-0 against Angelique Kerber - 1pt @ 20/1
Azarenka to win first set 6-1 against Kerber - 1.5pts @ 8/1