Barty and Osaka likely to continue on their path to round four
It's back to the top half of the draw for round two of the Australian Open tomorrow, and the first bracket is where many eyes will be. Naomi Osaka should get the job done in pretty straightforward fashion against Madison Brengle - she's just much more likely to be the stronger server in the match - while Ash Barty is also a very heavy favourite over the Italian qualifier, Lucia Bronzetti. While Bronzetti actually looks a pretty competent young player, it would be a huge surprise if she even took a set from Barty tomorrow. Both Barty and Osaka are likely to keep on track for their projected fourth round meeting in a few days time.
Anisimova looking like underdog value against Bencic
However, from a pre-match value point of view, it's another match in that segment of the draw which caught my attention.
Amanda Anisimova might be ranked lower than Belinda Bencic but actually has slightly better hard court data over the last 12 months, so her status as a 2.506/4 underdog looks a bit out of line.
In fact, the American is unbeaten this season after winning the Melbourne warm-up event several weeks ago, and that should mean she's in pretty confident mood going into this meeting with the surprise Olympic champion. Anisimova as an underdog is Wednesday's pick.
There's not much else which really stands out, with a number of mismatches likely, although there's a couple of matches which look very competitive and worth discussing.
Riske could get reward from Ostapenko clash
Alison Riske is something of a fast conditions specialist and did well in the Adelaide warm-up event last week, albeit in rather fortunate circumstances (her run to the final featured opposition retiring and withdrawing), plus beat Donna Vekic in comprehensive fashion in round one. Tomorrow, the American faces Jelena Ostapenko, and it's Riske who is the 2.447/5 underdog.
This looks very slightly big but not unduly so, with numbers suggesting Riske is the better server but Ostapenko the better returner, and it looks like being a decent match-up where the winner will have to play well to win.
Wang with a higher ceiling than Van Uytvanck
The other meeting featuring an underdog who I think is slightly generously priced is Qiang Wang against Alison Van Uytvanck, with Wang being the 2.427/5 underdog. Having dropped out of the top 100, Wang hasn't had the best couple of years but it's important to remember that she was on the verge of the top 10 several years ago, and then hasn't played much since - missing the post-lockdown 2020 season and then most of the second half of last season too.
Wang did, however, get the better of Cori Gauff in round one, in what was the biggest shock of the round and that hints at her getting back to some sort of previous level. Van Uytvanck is a decent enough player and competent server, but in my view has a lower ceiling and it wouldn't surprise me at all if Wang progressed here.
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