Swiatek waiting for first real test
Lauren Davis was next in the firing line for Iga Swiatek in round three, and the Pole recorded yet another straight sets victory. Swiatek is now 6-0 in sets here, and 36-15 in games in three matches, as she continues to dominate opposition.
Today, Swiatek faces Jule Niemeier, with the German having recorded three underdog victories so far in the tournament. She needs to record a fourth - at a much bigger price - to continue her journey in New York. Swiatek is 1.182/11 to get the victory, which based on her stunning hard court data from the season so far (112% combined service/return points won), is difficult to dispute.
We might have to wait for the winner of Petra Kvitova and Jessica Pegula - Swiatek's potential quarter-final opponent - for her to face a more competitive test.
Pegula undervalued for Kvitova clash
The market is finding it tough to split Kvitova and Pegula, with the Czech a very marginal 2.021/1 underdog to progress after edging a dramatic final set tiebreak against Garbine Muguruza on Saturday evening.
I'm a little surprised to see these prices. Kvitova could have easily exited the event at the weekend, while Pegula has better serve & return data on hard courts this year. Is the market over-reacting to Kvitova's previous event, a final in Cincinnati? Perhaps, but my lean is with Pegula and I think she should be a stronger favourite.
Azarenka the lean over Pliskova
Another match in which the market is finding it difficult to find a favourite is Victoria Azarenka versus Karolina Pliskova, with the prices effectively even money apiece at the time of writing. Similarly to her Czech countrywoman Kvitova, Pliskova's progress so far hasn't been without difficulty, needing a final set 10-8 tiebreak win in round one to beat Magda Linette, and three more sets to beat Belinda Bencic on Saturday.
Azarenka looks the better option for me here, based on numbers, with my model making her around 1.804/5 to get the win. She has much better return data this season on hard court, and has impressed me more in the tournament so far. With both players ranked outside the top 20 after previously being ranked number one in the world, it is likely there will be some variance in their performance levels, but Azarenka is the lean for me.
Sabalenka a questionable favourite over Collins
Finally, Aryna Sabalenka - another player who was dangerously close to the exit previously in the event - is marginal favourite at 1.784/5 for her clash with Danielle Collins. The duo actually met here last year, with Sabalenka winning in straight sets and priced at around 1.558/15 - shorter than the market lines this year.
A departure from the 2021 pricing doesn't strike me as hugely out of line. Sabalenka was ranked two at the time, and hasn't particularly impressed on hard court this year - in fact, it's Collins with the better numbers. If it wasn't for Collins' struggles with form and fitness prior to this event, I'd be going with the American as the pre-match underdog tonight as well.