Australian Open Women's Day Nine Tips: Williams with market edge over Halep

American Tennis Player Serena Williams
Serena Williams is a slight favourite over Simona Halep...

Quarter-final matches in the women's singles start on Tuesday, and with one match in particular looking very competitive, Dan Weston returns to preview the day ahead...

"In the last year on hard court, Williams has around a 4% service points won advantage while Halep has a similar edge on return, with slightly longer-term data giving the American a slight advantage. Given this, Williams' status looks justified."

Brady one win away from winning our outright

Jessica Pegula caused a surprise on Monday with her win over Elina Svitolina, and this helped our outright pick, Jennifer Brady, in her quest to win the quarter. The American is now 1.4640/85 to do that with Pegula a theoretically easier match than Svitolina, after she defeated Donna Vekic in straight sets.

There were also wins for Karolina Muchova, who nicked a tight two-setter against Elise Mertens while second favourite Ash Barty continued her tournament with a 2-0 win over Shelby Rogers.

Osaka a heavy favourite to end Hsieh's journey

Moving on to tomorrow's matches, we see one theoretical mismatch and one clash which looks extremely tough to call. First on court is Naomi Osaka versus Su-Wei Hsieh, and the tournament favourite, Osaka, is now 18 unbeaten on hard court after her comeback win over Garbine Muguruza in round four.

Osaka is 1.141/7 to get the better of the 35-year-old veteran and surprise quarter-finalist Su-Wei Hsieh, who she faces after the draw opened up, and this looks pretty accurate in my opinion. Across those 18 matches, Osaka has very strong data indeed (just over 110% combined service/return points won) and my general view is that she will have much more consistency and strength on serve than Hsieh tomorrow.

Having said that, the duo have met four times in 2019 and Hsieh has actually won almost 59% of service points, which is quite a bit higher than I would have anticipated, although it's also fair to point out that the ability differential between the two players is probably greater now than it was two years ago.

Williams a slight market favourite to beat Halep

Following this, Serena Williams meets Simona Halep and the market has the two players quite evenly matched, and so do I as well. Williams is the 1.845/6 market favourite on the Exchange at the time of writing, and I have her at 1.774/5 so there is very little discrepancy here.

In the last year on hard court, Williams has around a 4% service points won advantage while Halep has a similar edge on return, with slightly longer-term data giving the American a slight advantage. Given this, Williams' status looks justified, and she's also beaten Halep in nine of their 11 previous meetings.

It's difficult to draw too much from their matches in the past with it certainly being arguable that Williams isn't quite at her peak these days, and in these matches, Williams has managed to negate the strong return of Halep to a certain extent, holding almost 80% of service games.

The data from their previous meetings suggest that a few years ago, there was quite a big difference between the two players but whether that is the case now is more debatable. Serena is the favourite, but I'm expecting a competitive match between two players with rather contrasting styles.

Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

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