Australian Open Tennis Women's Singles Final predictions, picks & best bets: Rybakina battles Sabalenka in big-hitting matchup
And then there were two…. The Australian Open women’s singles title comes down to Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina, who will battle for the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup on Saturday. Sabalenka is seeking her first Grand Slam triumph, while Rybakina secured her first slam last summer at Wimbledon.
Let’s take a look at the best bets to be made on the Day 13 schedule.
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3-star play: Aryna Sabalenka -1.5 double-faults vs Elena Rybakina (-110)
Aryna Sabalenka has double-faulted 22 times in 6 matches (12 sets) at this Australian Open. Elena Ryabkina has double-faulted 13 times in 6 matches (13 sets). That means Sabalenka is DFing 1.83 times per set compared to 1.0 DFs per set for Ryabkina. Doing some simple math, a 2-set match projects Sabalenka to have 1.66 more DFs than Rybakina, and if it goes to 3 — which is very possible — then the Belarusian can be expected to DF 2.49 times more than her opponent.
If that isn’t enough for you, factor in how these players often perform under pressure. In her last 2 slam semifinal matches prior to Thursday, Sabalenka double-faulted 8 times in her 2021 U.S. Open semifinal loss to Leylah Fernandez and 7 times during her 2022 U.S. Open semifinal loss to Iga Swiatek. The #5 seed doubled just twice against Magda Linette on Thursday, but that was a relatively quick 2-set match and Sabalenka was never under serious pressure. Meanwhile, in the 2022 Wimbledon final Rybakina beat Ons Jabeur and DFed only 3 times despite playing 3 sets and a total of 94 points on her own serve.
2-star play: Elena Rybakina +1.5 games over Aryna Sabalenka (-110)
Sabalenka leads the official head-to-head series 3-0 (Rybakina beat her in a team competition this past fall), but they have not faced each other since the summer of 2021. Fast forward almost 2 years and Rybakina is a Grand Slam champion who will be ranked no worse than #10 following this Australian Open. If she had received ranking points at Wimbledon in 2022, the Kazakh would be at least #5 and — if she prevails on Saturday — potentially all the way up to #3.
Also consider Rybakina’s run this fortnight: she has taken out three major champions (Jelena Ostepaneko, Victoria Azarenka and world #1 Iga Swiatek) in addition to 2022 Aussie Open runner-up Danielle Collins. I think Rybakina will win outright, so a +105 play on her money line is also advisable. But in what is likely to be a competitive contest with few service breaks and at least one tiebreaker (maybe more!), a +1.5 game spread could come in handy.
1-star play: Over 22.5 games (-110)
All three previous meetings between Sabalenka and Rybakina have gone to 3 sets. Another 3-setter, of course, would soar over this 22.5 number. Even a straight-sets match has a decent chance of cashing; we would just need one tiebreaker and a single-break difference in the other set. In a matchup between two of the biggest servers on tour, that is well within reason. Rybakina is the ace leader at this event with 44, while Sabalenka is third with 29.
In 6 matches, Rybakina has lost her serve 10 times (despite the incredibly stout competition level) and Sabalenka has been broken on just 7 occasions. You have to think a close contest decided by very small margins is in the cards. I would make this a more confident bet if you play the number down to 21.5 and get it at -145.
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