The women's singles tournament at the US Open draws to a conclusion with a final between Bianca Andreescu and Serena Williams. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, gives his thoughts...
"Winning tonight would be Williams' seventh US Open title, and incredibly, would be the 20th anniversary of her first tournament success here, in 1999, when she beat Martina Hingis."
Williams a stronger favourite than last month in Toronto
Just under a month ago (11th August), Bianca Andreescu and Serena Williams walked on court in Toronto with Serena starting at around the [1.6] mark for that particular match. After four games, and with a 1-3 deficit in the first set, Serena retired and gave Andreescu her second Premier Mandatory hard court trophy of an incredible breakthrough season.
Today, though, despite that retirement, Williams is a shorter price - a stronger market favourite - to make amends by winning the US Open final against Andreescu in a match scheduled to start at 21:00 UK time this evening.
Serena with stunning US Open data
So what has changed to make Serena a [1.37] favourite here - over a 20 tick movement in her favour - from that match in Toronto? I keep a database of every single match on tour across numerous years, so was able to quickly source the data prior to that clash in Canada.
In advance of that Toronto final, I had Andreescu's 12 month hard court data running at 115.2% combined hold/break percentage, with Serena higher at 119.9%, so there was almost a 5% gap between the duo - making Serena's bigger price that day broadly correct.
However, for the match tonight, Andreescu is at 117.6%, with Serena at 127.7% - a bigger gap of around 10%, which does justify Serena being a stronger market favourite than that meeting a month ago. Essentially, we can see that Andreescu's data has improved a bit across the last month since that match, but Williams' numbers have gone sky high.
Why is this the case? Winning seven of the 13 sets competed here by a 6-0, 6-1 or 6-2 scoreline does tend to have a dramatic effect on a player's hold/break data!
In Serena's last two matches, against Qiang Wang and Elina Svitolina, she's gone 24-5 in games, and it is completely rational that her data has hugely improved - across this tournament she's won an incredible 72% of service points, a full 10% above the figure Andreescu has managed, as well as winning over 50% of return points, again with a decent edge over Andreescu.
Finalists had the best hard court data in advance
There are also probably fewer concerns about Williams' fitness and also, this being Andreescu's first Grand Slam final - Williams is obviously a regular at this stage. Winning tonight would be Williams' seventh US Open title, and incredibly, would be the 20th anniversary of her first tournament success here, in 1999, when she beat Martina Hingis.
So, bearing all this in mind, there's not any pre-match value here tonight with my model broadly agreeing with the market prices. I completely concur with Serena's status as a strong market favourite here, and it's worth noting as well that the two players competing in tonight's women's final were the two players with the best hard court data in 2019, in advance of the tournament - these two deserve to be finalists based on the surface numbers this year.
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
Dan's US Open P&L:-
17 Units Staked
22.43 Units Returned