Australian Open Day Seven Women's Tips: Sharapova can continue Barty's Slam misery

Russian Tennis Player Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova is capable of continuing Ash Barty's Slam record...

The first group of fourth round matches in the women's singles take place on Sunday, and back to give his thoughts on the action, is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...

"I make Sharapova a very marginal favourite based on 12 month hard court data, although I do have to point out that Sharapova's data isn't of the biggest sample size. "

Favourites thrive on day six

It was a disappointing end to our strong run at the Australian Open with Qiang Wang unable to get past a very strong Anastasija Sevastova, who won 83% of her service points en route to a straight set victory.

In other matches today, Naomi Osaka was pushed to three sets by Su-Wei Hsieh, while there were also wins for Serena Williams, Madison Keys, Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and our outright selection, Elina Svitolina, in what was day of favourite success.

Anisimova capable of testing Kvitova

It will be interesting to see whether this continues in the fourth round, and getting matters underway at around midnight UK time is Petra Kvitova, who faces the huge prospect, Amanda Anisimova.

Kvitova is 1.635/8, which my model makes a little short, but not unduly so, against THE number one prospect on the WTA Tour, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if the young American was able to trouble the Czech left-hander.

Having said this, I do feel that the match is on Kvitova's racquet - as is often the case - and a high level performance will probably be too much for a player in uncharted territory in Grand Slams. However, this isn't necessarily a given, and Anisimova will stand a decent chance if Kvitova isn't quite at her best.

Sharapova capable of continuing Barty's Slam misery

Next up, at around 1:30am UK time, sees Ash Barty take on Maria Sharapova. Barty is favourite, at 2.166/5, and this has seen a little drift on the Australian from opening lines. I'm not that surprised by the drift, as I make Sharapova a very marginal favourite based on 12 month hard court data, although I do have to point out that Sharapova's data isn't of the biggest sample size.

Barty has never made it past this round in Slams - her best showing previously was a straight-set defeat to Karolina Pliskova at this stage in last year's US Open - so a win here will be a career-best achievement, and I wonder how much this might play on her mind against a player who has still retained her incredible will to win, even after tour absences. Sharapova's break deficit recovery numbers are still extremely strong, and after an excellent win over Caroline Wozniacki on Friday and two demolitions of lower-profile opposition, she seems in decent touch here.

It's not a confident selection by any means, and staking should be reflected with that, but Sharapova does look the best spot of Sunday's action.

Kerber a heavy favourite to get past Collins

In the later matches, Danielle Collins is a 7.206/1 underdog against Angelique Kerber, with the German looking back to her best - albeit against limited opposition - in the early rounds. I was also considering Collins on the +5.5 game handicap, but Kerber has covered this line more than she hasn't when priced 1.101/10 to 1.201/5 on hard court in the last couple of years, so I'll give this a swerve.

Stephens and Pavlyuchenkova accurately priced

Finally, our winner from Friday, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, is a slight 2.486/4 underdog to get the better of Sloane Stephens, a price which my model makes about right. Pav has an edge on serve, when looking at 12 month hard court data, but Stephens has a bigger advantage on return, and I agree that Stephens should be favourite for this clash.

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Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

Dan Weston Australian Open Daily Preview P&L

12 Matches, 8 Wins.
12 Units Staked, 15.9 Units Returned
32.50% ROI.

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