US Open Women's Day Nine Tips: Back Pliskova to shock Serena
On day nine of the US Open, it's the start of the women's singles quarter finals, and returning with his thoughts on tonight's two clashes, is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"Both players has strong serve numbers on hard court this year, with Williams holding 74.3% and Pliskova 27.8%, while Williams also has an edge on return, breaking opponents 36.3% of the time, very slightly higher than Pliskova’s 34.4%."
Vondrousova trades low but loses in three
Our profits from the run of Marketa Vondrousova didn't strike third time lucky last night, although the circumstances were unfortunate. The young Czech prospect - a pre-match underdog - led by a set and break early in the second set before Lesia Tsurenko came back in what was a very swingy match.
Yesterday also saw Madison Keys triumph as a favourite, while two underdogs - Naomi Osaka and surprisingly, Carla Suarez Navarro, also made it through to tomorrow's quarter finals, which have fewer big names than tonight's encounters.
Stephens favoured by market against Sevastova
Action gets underway at 17:00 UK time, with Sloane Stephens a [1.37] favourite to get the better of Anastasia Sevastova. The defending champion looks a little short here - my model had her at [1.55] although she's certainly impressed so far here in New York.
Having said this, Sevastova has also performed well in recent months, and since her exit at Wimbledon at the start of July, she's 16-2, with her defeats coming at the hands of Camila Giorgi, and interestingly, Stephens. This loss to Stephens came in Montreal, where the American was priced at [1.52], so there has been some movement in the match-up price since that meeting.
That day, Stephens was very strong on return, crushing Sevastova's second serve and creating nine break point chances in eight return games. Sevastova won just 48% of service points in that match, and will need to drastically improve those numbers if she is to have a chance this evening.
Pliskova capable of pushing Williams tonight
Following this, those willing to stay up until the early hours will be rewarded with a fascinating match-up between Serena Williams and Karolina Pliskova, and regardless of anyone's take on this, it's unlikely that there will be too much disagreement in my assertion that it should be a pretty serve-orientated encounter.
Both players has strong serve numbers on hard court this year, with Williams holding 74.3% and Pliskova 72.8%, while Williams also has an edge on return, breaking opponents 36.3% of the time, very slightly higher than Pliskova's 34.4%.
At this tournament, however, Williams' numbers have been incredible, holding 91.9% and breaking 51.4%, and I feel that this has influenced the market, as well as her reputation. These numbers are peak level for Williams but it's debatable whether she is back to her previous peak, or just taking advantage of quite a nice draw against lower level opposition.
As with many things in life, I feel that the truth is somewhere in between. Williams does look like she has improved from recent months here in New York, but Pliskova is an upgrade on her previous opponents and for me, represents some value at [3.85] in a potentially tight match.
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Dan's US Open 2018 P/L
P/L: + 3.39pts (17.84% return on investment)
Back Karolina Pliskova to beat Serena Williams at [3.85]