The women's singles tournament at Wimbledon moves to the semi-final stage with two fascinating match-ups in action this afternoon. Dan Weston previews the two clashes...
"The Czech right-hander, Pliskova, also has not dropped a set en route to this stage, although hasn’t perhaps played the most taxing of opposition so far. However, to have won eight sets by a 6-3 margin or better out of the ten she has played is pretty impressive, and it would be a mistake to disregard Pliskova’s chances today."
Barty still tournament favourite at the semi-final stage
With the four quarter-finals all going the way of the pre-match favourites on Tuesday, all four players remaining in the women's singles tournament at SW19 are now in single-digit pricing. Ash Barty, as she has done throughout the event, leads the way as the 2.588/5 favourite but Aryna Sabalenka 3.1511/5 isn't far behind. Today's two underdogs, Angelique Kerber 5.69/2 and Karolina Pliskova 8.27/1 are the outsiders, but there's still around a 30% chance that one of Kerber or Pliskova will win the title, according to the outright market.
Pliskova leading the tournament data so far
It's interesting to see these outright odds, given the tournament data for the four players so far in their five wins. The chart below shows various metrics for each player and perhaps surprisingly for some readers, it's Pliskova with the best data so far in the event when ranking the four remaining players by combined service+ return points won percentages in the current event:-
The Czech right-hander, Pliskova, also has not dropped a set en route to this stage, although hasn't perhaps played the most taxing of opposition so far. However, to have won eight sets by a 6-3 margin or better out of the ten she has played is pretty impressive, and it would be a mistake to disregard Pliskova's chances today.
Barty justified favourite over Kerber
Before Pliskova versus Sabalenka, though, we must discuss the first match on today's schedule, between Ash Barty and Angelique Kerber, gets underway not before 1330 UK time, and it's Barty that is the 1.4740/85 favourite to proceed.
The duo have shared their four main tour meetings so far, but we can't take anything from those encounters with Barty ranked outside the top 200 in their first clash.
Looking at three-year grass numbers, Barty has a slightly bigger edge on serve than Kerber has on return, but of course, we must consider that the Australian has been far more impressive this year than Kerber who really struggled with consistency prior to the grass season. All things considered, the market price looks about right.
Pliskova slight value in likely serve-orientated teams
If we go on hard/indoor numbers across the last 12 months, the price on Pliskova looks slight value at 2.9015/8. It's certainly not huge though - my model has her at 2.4529/20, and I'm anticipating a tight, serve-orientated match-up without an abundance of breaks and break point chances.
Considering that Pliskova also has better data throughout the tournament so far, this also is a point in her favour and adds slight extra weight to those hard court numbers which really was all we have to go on considering a lack of grass court sample size.
So, it's Pliskova who is today's pick, although it's certainly not a hugely confident one.
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