Australian Open Women's Singles Day Nine: Mertens likely to buckle under pressure against Svitolina

Caroline Wozniacki is in Quarter Final action at the Australian Open on Tuesday
Caroline Wozniacki is in Quarter Final action at the Australian Open on Tuesday
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We see the first two women's quarter finals at the Australian Open, and with one our outright picks in action, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, previews both the matches...

"Mertens has a low projected hold percentage (57.4%) and Svitolina has superb break deficit recovery percentages, so what I quite like is opposing the Belgian if she leads at the business end of sets - single break scores of 4-2 or later in the set and trading below SP."

Outright selection Keys among those who won on day eight

It was another solid day on Monday at Melbourne Park as one of our outright choices, Madison Keys, eased into the quarter-finals for the loss of just five games against Caroline Garcia, while Simona Halep progressed with exactly the same scoreline, ending Naomi Osaka's Australian Open dreams.

Also keeping their campaigns going was Angelique Kerber - now the tournament favourite - and Karolina Pliskova, with both recovering from losing the first set. However, the market is so bullish on Kerber that it's completely disregarded any issues that the German had against Su-Wei Hsieh, while being much more cautious on Pliskova, after she beat countrywoman Barbora Strycova.

Svitolina a heavy favourite to get past Mertens

In tomorrow's first match, our hero over the last few days, Elise Mertens, takes on the pre-tournament favourite, Elina Svitolina, and the Ukrainian, Svitolina, looks a touch short at [1.31].

My model priced her at [1.36] against a young player of huge potential in Mertens, with the Exchange market making her a few ticks below this, at [1.31]. Mertens has a current market price of [4.10], and ideally I'd want this [4.50] or greater before I could action any value considerations.

The question is how to approach this match in an attempt to get some value. We could wait for Mertens' price to hit [4.50] in the run-up to the match but I feel like her price would be unlikely to drift this much, so I'm going to look in-play instead.

Mertens likely to struggle under pressure in first Grand Slam quarter-final

For this, Mertens has a low projected hold percentage (57.4%) and Svitolina has superb break deficit recovery percentages, so what I quite like is opposing the Belgian if she leads at the business end of sets - single break scores of 4-2 or later in the set and trading below SP.

Laying Mertens here makes a lot of sense, not only from a projected hold and break deficit recovery perspective, but also due to the magnitude of the match - this is her first Grand Slam quarter final - and that pressure is likely to be immense at key stages of sets, or if she is close to victory.

Suarez Navarro unlikely to trouble Wozniacki

In the later quarter-final, our other outright pick, Caroline Wozniacki is a heavy [1.22] favourite to get past Carla Suarez Navarro, and my model makes this pretty correct. I'd be very surprised if CSN, who is 0-5 in Grand Slam quarter finals, winning just one set in the process, was able to derail the Wozniacki train, and hopefully tomorrow afternoon we will be able to celebrate having our first outright semi-finalist, with the potential of Keys joining her on Wednesday.


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Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

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