Saturday sees the first all-Williams WTA Grand Slam final since 2009. Tennis columnist Dan Weston thinks that this match will follow historical trends and go the full three sets...
"It's worth noting that nine of the 17 head to head matches ended in three sets (52.9%) and this figure is vastly in excess of the three-set average for the WTA tour. Despite this, it is possible to back three sets in the match at 3.25 on the Exchange."
Venus victorious over Vandeweghe
Thursday's recommendation of Venus Williams to beat Coco Vandeweghe in the semi-final was a nice underdog winner, with Williams superbly putting the disappointment of losing a first-set tiebreak behind her to take the next two sets in clinical fashion.
With younger sister Serena ending Mirjana Lucic-Baroni's superb run in the event in straight sets, for the loss of just three games, this sets up the first all-Williams Grand Slam final since Wimbledon in 2009. Indeed, that was 36-year-old Venus' last Grand Slam final.
Kind draw contributes to Venus success
It is questionable as to whether Venus' appearance in the final represents a renaissance in her career, or whether it is indicative of the lack of quality, depth and consistency in the WTA presently, and my personal assessment is that there is more credence in the latter explanation.
I also mentioned in the pre-tournament WTA preview that many WTA players can beat each other on a given day, and it is also noticeable that Venus has played just two top 40 opponents, and only one seed - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (24).
While it is fair to say that a player can only beat what is in front of them, it is also reasonable to suggest that the kind draw that Venus has received has been a large contributory factor to her success this fortnight.
Williams sisters tend to play close matches
With the extremely rare dynamic of two close sisters playing against each other occurring in this match, it's worth examining some of the statistics from their previous 17 head-to-head matches, which Serena leads 11-6, including winning seven of the last eight matches.
Firstly, it's worth noting that nine of the 17 head-to-head matches ended in three sets (52.9%) and this figure is vastly in excess of the three-set average for the WTA tour. Despite this, it is possible to back three sets in the match at 3.259/4 on the Exchange.
Furthermore, 14 of the 17 matches have gone over 20.5 games, which is the likely game handicap line - in short, matches featuring these sisters tend not to end in a thrashing, with only Serena's 6-1 6-2 win at Charleston in 2013 being an absolute demolition.
With regards to the match winner market, Serena is currently available as a 1.222/9 favourite on the Exchange, a price which my model broadly agreed with, pricing her at 1.232/9. She has a slightly worse return game than her older sister, breaking opponents 40.1% in the last 12 months on hard courts, compared to Venus' 44.7%, but Serena has an immensely better serve, holding 82.5% in this time period compared to 67.4% for Venus.
Considering the historical trends, backing Serena to win by a 2-1 scoreline at 4.77/2 could be worthy of interest, but given the fact that I found no value on the younger Williams sister as a heavy favourite, I prefer the 3.259/4 available on the match going three sets, covering ourselves for a shock Venus win.
Back three sets at 3.259/4
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
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