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tennis | Wednesday, January 25, 2023 9:48 AM

Wednesday Tennis Best Bet: WTA Australian Open, Elena Rybakina vs Victoria Azarenka

Wednesday Tennis Best Bet: WTA Australian Open, Elena Rybakina vs Victoria Azarenka
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Elena Rybakina vs Victoria Azarenka Best Bet: Wednesday, January 25th

It’s semifinal day down under for the four women remaining in the draw. In what should have been an expected turn of events, it’s a final four dominated by power players and big servers.

For Wednesday’s article from the women’s side of things, we’ll look at the match between young gun Elena Rybakina and wily veteran Victoria Azarenka.

In this article:

Elena Rybakina vs Victoria Azarenka Preview

January 25th, TBD (UK Time)

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise to many that both Rybakina and Azarenka are off to a solid start to the 2023 season.

The two women each play power games, prefer quicker surfaces and play with an aggressive return style that can keep their opposition under constant pressure of being broken.

That is an incredibly potent combination during Australian summers, where the courts play quicker and holding serve rates of 83.5% (Rybakina) or 77.4% (Azarenka) can see you pulling away from players quickly if they can’t manage to hold you off from the service line themselves.

The veteran from Belarus has actually lifted the trophy twice in Melbourne – the only two grand slam victories she’s managed in her storied career – so the championship pedigree is there as well.

As for Rybakina’s grand slam exploits? Well, she just won her maiden title at the top level of the sport less than seven months ago on the biggest stage of them all at Wimbledon.

With neither of the two being particularly agile, it’s hard to see who has the clear-cut advantage. I’d likely go with Rybakina just because she’s younger and does possess one of the few serves that can out-do Azarenka, but I’m not sure it’s quite as lopsided as the current market prices would suggest.

Elena Rybakina vs Victoria Azarenka Best Bet

I think when looking at the “to win” markets in this matchup that the price has shortened a tad too much on the Kazakh. I do believe she’s the rightful favourite in this one, but a price shift from 1.68 to 1.49 seems like a bit much for me. Put another way, that is a shift of nearly 8% in implied probabilities.

I’m not keen to bet against the big server on a quicker court – just see the offseason Australian Open futures article, where Rybakina was actually one of my selections to take home the title – so I think the value lies more in backing Azarenka to keep things close.

With two players who have big serves, powerful forehands and like to dictate, playing on a rather quick court with lighter balls that reward those big serves, I wouldn’t be surprised to see both players holding serve rather effectively.

A total games market set at 21.5 seems about a half game to full game too low for me, so that’s where I’ll look to capitalise in this one.

  • Selection: Over 21.5 Games
  • Best Odds: 1.87 (Unibet)
  • Stakes: 2/10

Odds as at 12:30 am on January 25th, 2022. Odds may now differ.

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