There's some superb-looking match-ups on day six of the women's singles at the US Open, and returning to preview the action is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"Bertens is the market favourite, and even after accounting for her dramatic improvement on hard court herself this year (until recently, I viewed her more as a clay-courter) it's tough to justify this line."
Williams strengthens grip on outright market
Serena Williams firmed up her position as the market favourite for the tournament after thrashing sister Venus 1&2 last night in New York, and in an ominous display for the rest of the field, she's now been backed into [3.80] to lift the trophy in a week's time.
Numerous favourites priced around the [1.50] mark today
However, prior to her fourth round clash with Kaia Kanepi tomorrow (she was seeded to play Simona Halep, let's not forget) there are eight further third round meetings today, with one of outright selections, Caroline Garcia, in action. She's [1.47] to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro and join our other pre-tournament choice, Elina Svitolina, in the last 16.
Garcia is one of a number of players priced around [1.50] to win today, with Maria Sharapova at a similar price against Jelena Ostapenko, as well as Naomi Osaka, for her match with Aliaksandra Sasnovich, and also Lesia Tsurenko versus Katerina Siniakova. All three favourites look pretty reasonably priced, and there's not much in the way of value among these clashes.
Kvitova vulnerable against huge prospect Sabalenka
Another player who was priced similarly, prior to a drift, is Petra Kvitova against Aryna Sabalenka. It's Kvitova who is [1.73] to get the win, and this looks a little short against a vastly improved opponent who has impressed me greatly this year. Sabalenka won the New Haven event last week and in fact has won 11 of her last 12 matches, and is on a mission to break the top 20 in the very near future - it wouldn't surprise me at all if the 20 year old from Belarus caused an 'upset' tonight.
Bertens short against Vondrousova
In addition, another young player capable of surprising higher ranked opposition, and indeed the market, is Marketa Vondrousova, for her match with Kiki Bertens. Vondrousova got us a win in the last round, against Eugenie Bouchard, and I'm relying on her to succeed as a heavy underdog this evening at [4.80].
Bertens is the market favourite at [1.25], and even after accounting for her dramatic improvement on hard court herself this year (until recently, I viewed her more as a clay-courter) it's tough to justify this line. Statistically, there's not a huge difference between the duo and the 19 year old Czech, Vondrousova, looks generously priced for this meeting.
In other matches, Madison Keys is [1.18] for her match with Aleksandra Krunic, and this doesn't look hugely out of line. Krunic has had a poor year on hard courts, and is a better player than she has shown on the surface this season. However, whether she can display it against last year's runner-up is another matter entirely.
With most of the big-name players making it through to round four so far, this is shaping up to be a very competitive second week in the women's singles, although Sabalenka and Vondrousova will be looking to overturn the bias towards heavy favourites so far in the tournament.
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