After 126 women's matches at the Australian Open, it boils down to one match - Simona Halep, against one of our outright selections, Caroline Wozniacki. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, previews the final...
"On hard court in the last 12 months, Wozniacki has held serve 4.1% more (75.4% to Halep's 71.3%) but broken very marginally less (43.8% to 44.9%), so based on these numbers, Wozniacki should be a slight favourite to take the title."
Kerber defeat a lesson for momentum backers
In Thursday's semi-finals, we managed to pick up another winner as Simona Halep managed to edge past the outright and pre-match market favourite, Angelique Kerber.
As well as a victory for us and Halep, it was also a victory for those who don't over-react based on unsustainable short-term runs of form, while those in the market that did consider Kerber to be the second coming of Serena Williams may have learned an expensive lesson.
We also had further joy as our remaining outright selection, Caroline Wozniacki, eased past Elise Mertens, and this gives us a fascinating final between two players who have frequently come up short at the business end of Grand Slam events.
Halep's record in finals as bad as Wozniacki's
Wozniacki's record was highlighted on Thursday - she's lost both Slam finals she's competed in, although was a heavy underdog in both, and had a poor record in finals in 2017.
However, anyone thinking that this would be a positive for Halep needs to think again - the Romanian is also 0-2 in Slam finals, and was a much shorter price than Wozniacki in both, including starting at [1.33] against Jelena Ostapenko in Paris at the French Open last year. Last year, Halep won two titles, which was a poor return considering she was favourite in every single of the six she competed - she won just six sets in those matches as well.
Wozniacki with hard court data edge
Quite simply then, we can take each player on their statistical merits here - although it is possible Halep may have some delayed fatigue following 15-13 and 9-7 final set victories in previous rounds - and it is Wozniacki who slightly edges matters numerically.
On hard court in the last 12 months, Wozniacki has held serve 4.1% more (75.4% to Halep's 71.3%) but broken very marginally less (43.8% to 44.9%), so based on these numbers, Wozniacki should be a slight favourite to take the title.
Market pricing Wozniacki as slight underdog
Despite these numbers, she is not. The Exchange market is currently pricing the Dane as a [2.38] underdog and I'm very surprised by this. On this basis, it's completely logical to recommend Wozniacki as a value underdog to be celebrating her first Grand Slam title of what has still been an illustrious career.
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
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