US Open Women's Singles Day Eight Tips: Mertens capable of surprising Kenin

Belgian Tennis Player Elise Mertens
Elise Mertens looks value against Sofia Kenin...

Fourth round action in the women's singles at the US Open continues on Monday and our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, previews all four matches on the schedule...

"Mertens is the 2.3811/8 underdog here and I think this represents value given that she has over a 5% service/return points won edge over Kenin based on 12 month hard court numbers. "

Kvitova unfortunate in defeat

There were some surprises on day seven in New York, with one of our outright picks, Petra Kvitova, somehow losing to Shelby Rogers despite having 14 break points to five, and winning 12 more points in the entire match. I've said it before and I'll say it again, these are the fine margins and associated variance involved with professional tennis - the best player doesn't always win.

Naomi Osaka impressed in her straight-set win over Anett Kontaveit, and the tournament favourite is now in to 2.982/1 for the title on the Exchange, with Serena Williams at 6.611/2, Jennifer Brady a big mover into 7.87/1 and Victoria Azarenka also in single-digit pricing at 8.27/1.

Williams a little generously priced for Sakkari clash

It's Williams who opens the schedule tonight at 17:00 UK time with a clash against Maria Sakkari. The duo met at the Western & Southern Open several weeks ago in the last 16, with Sakkari coming through in three sets. That day, Williams was priced just shy of 1.804/5, but is shorter today, currently trading at 1.528/15 on the Exchange.

Both prices look big based on 12 month hard court data - even at the current market lines, Williams looks to be a little value. She's running at 110% combined service/return points won during this period, which is 7% higher than Sakkari, although Williams' post-lockdown figure of just below 105% is probably what is causing concern in the market.

Moving on with the schedule, I'd be surprised if anyone predicted Tsvetana Pironkova would make round four after a three-year absence, and she is around even money for her clash with Alize Cornet. After just three matches here, it's still very difficult to have a big enough sample of data to draw any realistic conclusions from, so it's a clear leave-alone in my view.

Azarenka showing an excellent post-lockdown level

The level of Victoria Azarenka after the resumption of the tour has been a surprise, and the Belarussian is a justified strong favourite at 1.392/5 to get the better of the big-serving Karolina Muchova tonight. Azarenka is running at almost 110% combined service/return points won since the tour resumed, which are extremely impressive numbers, although it's worth pointing out that she has had some break point overperformance compared to expectation in this time period as well.

Mertens with data edge over Kenin

Finally, Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin faces Elise Mertens in the night match, and I'm surprised to see the market pricing for this. Mertens is the 2.3811/8 underdog here and I think this represents value given that she has over a 5% service/return points won edge over Kenin based on 12 month hard court numbers.

The duo have similar service points won percentages, but Mertens has a solid advantage on return data, and also has better numbers post-lockdown as well. Mertens was the favourite when they met a year ago on hard court, and I think she should be a slight favourite here as well.

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