We have two remaining women's singles quarter-finals on day ten of the US Open. Dan Weston says Lesia Tsurenko has a chance against Naomi Osaka...
"In the last 12 months Osaka has a big edge on serve, holding 72.0% to Tsurenko's 64.3%, but the Ukrainian has broken opponents more on return, doing so 42.6% to 38.4%, so looking at these it is correct for Osaka to be favourite, but not to such a dramatic extent."
Sevastova still with serve issues despite Stephens victory
Anastasia Sevastova stunned Sloane Stephens yesterday in New York, with the defending champion unable to back up her win over the Latvian in Canada last month. Sevastova didn't serve much better (54% first serve percentage, 48% first serve won) than that meeting, but saved seven of nine break points while converting five from eight - she played the key points well.
Certainly, Sevastova will need to serve much better than this if she is to seriously threaten to derail Serena Williams tomorrow. The American went a break down early in the first set to Karolina Pliskova and faced three break points to go a double break down, but got the set back on terms - it was relatively plain sailing subsequently.
Tsurenko value based on data against Osaka
Prior to this, we need to identify the two other semi-finalists, and getting proceedings underway for today's quarter-finals at 1700 UK time is Naomi Osaka and Lesia Tsurenko. The Japanese player, Osaka is the [1.42] market favourite, which looks short based on pure statistics.
In the last 12 months Osaka has a big edge on serve, holding 72.0% to Tsurenko's 64.3%, but the Ukrainian has broken opponents more on return, doing so 42.6% to 38.4%, so looking at these it is correct for Osaka to be favourite, but not to such a dramatic extent.
Game handicap can help negate potential injury concerns
Perhaps this pricing is somewhat down to the fact that Tsurenko looked to be struggling physically in her defeat of Marketa Vondrousova on Monday. However, there are two points worth making in this regard - firstly, quite a bit could have been down to the oppressive heat that caused the likes of Roger Federer also to struggle, and in addition, she has had two days to recover from those exertions.
This is a critical point - in the latter stages of a typical WTA tournament, the winning player will have no more than a 24 hour turnaround to recover from their previous match. However, in Slams, they have two days to do so, and this extra rest day can make a big positive difference to a player's recovery.
One area where we can consider shooting a slight angle here though is via the game handicap. Tsurenko +3.5 games is [2.10] on the Exchange, and this can be considered. Three of Tsurenko's last five defeats have been via retirement, and this safety net could be very useful - a retirement loss voids the handicap bet, but if a set is completed, a match odds bet would stand.
Keys serve critical to success tonight
In the second quarter-final, Madison Keys is a solid [1.39] favourite to get the better of Carla Suarez Navarro, and while I agree that Keys should be favoured to get past the Spaniard, this does look a little on the short side. Despite this, it isn't unduly so, and I would want bigger to favour Suarez Navarro particularly for this match-up, which I expect to be pretty serve-orientated.
Keys simply does possess a much better serve, and I would be surprised if last year's runner-up succumbed tonight.
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Dan's US Open 2018 P/L
P/L: + 2.39pts (11.95% return on investment)
Back Lesia Tsurenko +3.5 games at [2.10]