Australian Open Day Eight Women's Tips: Osaka a value favourite against Sevastova

American Tennis Player Serena Williams
Serena Williams has an excellent head to head record against Simona Halep...

Fourth round action continues tomorrow with the final four matches of the round taking place. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns to preview the matches...

"The Japanese talent has a huge service data edge over Sevastova - over an 11% difference in hold percentage on hard court in the last 12 months - while their return numbers are pretty similar. "

Collins victory will see a huge ranking gain

Maria Sharapova was edged by Ash Barty in a deciding set, despite fighting back well from a double break deficit, leaving us disappointed on Sunday. Two days in a row I've picked the wrong value player of the two highlighted as a recommendation, with winners Garbine Muguruza and Danielle Collins highlighted but not actioned. Having said this, we've had a solid tournament so far, and it's important not to get overly frustrated by small margins.

There were also wins for Danielle Collins, as mentioned, who stunned the second favourite for the tournament, Angelique Kerber, in straight sets, while Petra Kvitova ended the campaign of the 17 year old huge prospect, Amanda Anisimova. I'm pretty sure this will be a very positive experience for Anisimova, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see her competing in the latter stages of Slams in the very near future.

We also saw Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova oust Sloane Stephens in three sets, and now faces Collins for a place in the semi-finals. Both will enjoy a huge ranking boost, with Collins losing in the qualifiers last season, and Pavlyuchenkova only making the second round, but there's obviously a huge incentive for making that semi-final, at the very least.

There are eight more players taking to the court on Monday morning competing to join Barty, Collins, Kvitova and Pavlyuchenkova, with action getting underway at midnight UK time.

Keys and Svitolina looking evenly matched

Madison Keys and Elina Svitolina meet in the opener, with Keys favourite at a current 1.654/6 having had an excellent tournament so far. In fact, the American was not one of the fancied contenders, following an injury-disrupted end to 2018, but she's eased into round four and her facile victory over Elise Mertens on Saturday was a solid message to the field, although it's worth noting that the Belgian failed to take her break point chances in the first set, in particular.

I do feel that Svitolina represents some value in an even-looking encounter, but given our interest in her from an outright perspective, I want to move onto the other match where I feel a player also looks a little generously priced.

Osaka with edge over Sevastova

This comes in the second match on the day's schedule with Naomi Osaka a 1.684/6 favourite over Anastasija Sevastova, and I feel that the US Open winner, Osaka, is attractively priced. The Japanese talent has a huge service data edge over Sevastova - over an 11% difference in hold percentage on hard court in the last 12 months - while their return numbers are pretty similar.

The price discrepancy is possibly due to the surprisingly tough nature of Osaka's win over Su-Wei Hsieh, but it's worth noting that they met recently in Brisbane. That day, I priced Osaka at 1.574/7, and she started not far from even money, and duly got the better of Sevastova in three sets, including a second-set bagel. They also met on hard court in Beijing, with Osaka losing despite being priced at around 1.454/9, which is more in line with what I feel the correct price should be today.

Pliskova with head to head advantage

Karolina Pliskova has had decent success against Garbine Muguruza in previous head to head meetings, winning six of eight, and in these matches, Muguruza has struggled to cope with Pliskova's big serve. The Czech has held almost 80% of the time in these historical match-ups, and Muguruza will have to significantly improve on return if she is to progress. Pliskova is 1.834/5 to make the quarter-final, which looks about right given the nature of those head to head matches.

Williams a solid favourite to defeat Halep

Finally, in the showpiece evening match, Simona Halep has the tough task of facing Serena Williams, and having won just one of nine head to head meetings previously, is a 3.259/4 underdog to get the win.

Halep has struggled on serve against Williams previously - Serena has won almost 45% of return points against the Romanian - and with Williams predictably dominant on serve in these matches, it's a decent explanation as to why Halep has struggled.

My numbers make the 1.444/9 about Serena's progression about right, and also, given the ease of her victories so far in the tournament, it would be a surprise if she was defeated by Halep tomorrow.

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Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

Dan Weston Australian Open Daily Preview P&L

14 Matches, 8 Wins.
14 Units Staked, 15.9 Units Returned
13.57% ROI.

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