WTA Australian Open Day 1: Barty and Nara may be favourites but they're still value

Ashleigh Barty is a value price, even at odds-on, on day one in Melbourne
Ashleigh Barty is a value price, even at odds-on, on day one in Melbourne

On an extremely busy day one at Melbourne Park, our tennis columnist Dan Weston assesses several of the women's matches on the card, finding a couple value players who can start the tournament on a positive note...

"Opponent Beck has an atrocious record on hard courts in the last 12 months, winning just seven of 22 matches, and holding serve just 48.3% of the time."

Caution advised in the first round


As mentioned in the ATP preview, I prefer to be very circumspect in the opening round of events, with players feeling their way into tournaments, and fitness in some areas being questionable.

However, two players who I feel represent strong value overnight are Ashleigh Barty and Kurumi Nara. Both are priced around the 1.68/13 - 1.75/7 mark, despite my model indicating prices around 1.454/9 - 1.51/2 would be more appropriate.


Barty can bash Beck


At around 2am UK time, Ash Barty faces Annika Beck, with the Australian prospect priced at a current 1.564/7 on the Exchange following the resumption of her Tennis career around six months ago, following a stint in women's Big Bash Cricket.

Barty's results, and data, have been strong since her return to tour, and in Brisbane two weeks ago, she pushed world number one Angelique Kerber to three sets. A retirement last week in Hobart would be a slight worry, but Barty has been quoted as saying that her shoulder injury was just soreness and a precaution before the first Grand Slam of 2017.

Opponent Beck has an atrocious record on hard courts in the last 12 months, winning just seven of 22 matches, and holding serve just 48.3% of the time. Furthermore, the German is yet to win a set this season from both matches she has played, and also failed to take a set in her final two defeats in 2016 - in short, it is likely that her confidence is low and Barty can take advantage of her poor serve.


Nara can make it five from five


A little later on the schedule, expected at 3:30am, but almost certainly later, is the match between Kurumi Nara and Stefanie Voegele, and my favouring of the Japanese player is certainly less of an endorsement of her own talents, as an opposition of Voegele.

The Swiss player fought her way through three final set matches as a heavy favourite in qualifiers, and in her only main draw match of 2017 so far was thrashed by the mediocre Ons Jabeur. In addition, Voegele has awful lead retention data, with my in-play numbers indicating that she has lost 66.7% of first set and break leads (in set two) or final set break leads in matches since July 2014.

Furthermore, Voegele is yet to take a set from Nara in four head to head matches, with three of those defeats coming in the last two years. With Nara boasting this head-to-head advantage, and a 10% projected hold edge, my model priced Nara as a 1.51/2 favourite - indicating value on the current Exchange price of 1.784/5.


Recommended Bets
Back Ashleigh Barty to beat Annika Beck at 1.564/7
Back Kurumi Nara to beat Stefanie Voegele at 1.784/5

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