U.S. Open Day 11 best bets: Teenagers can’t be counted out now
It is women’s day at the U.S. Open on Thursday, when both of the two semifinal matches will be played at night. At just 26 years old, Maria Sakkari is the elder stateswoman of the quartet and she will face 18-year-old Emma Raducanu. In the other matchup, 23-year-old Aryna Sabalenka is going up against 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez.
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Aryna Sabalenka vs Leylah Fernandez Over 20.5 games (-107)
I was hoping the market would overreact to Fernandez’s run and create some value on Sabalenka, but at -4.5 games and -391 on the money line that is not the case. On the bright side, the total is only 20.5–which means a scoreline like 7-6, 6-2 or 7-5, 6-3 cashes an over bet. There is no reason why Fernandez can’t make it at least that competitive; she will probably even take a set. The 19-year-old Canadian has already defeated Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, and Elina Svitolina at this event, so she clearly loves the big stage–and being a big underdog. Each of her last three matches has required three sets and each one lasted a total of no less than 30 games.
Sabalenka did not play particularly well against Barbora Krejcikova on Tuesday, so her confidence could be a bit shaky. I think the Belarusian will pull away late, but this will likely be another fun one most of the way.
Emma Raducanu +2.5 games over Maria Sakkari (-112)
It’s pretty obvious that these teenagers are here to stay. If they were going to fizzle out, it would have happened already. It remains to be seen how Raducanu deals with adversity because she hasn’t yet at the U.S. Open; that’s just how dominant she has been. But if not facing adversity is your biggest problem, you know you are doing something right. What Raducanu has done is win eight matches (three in qualifying) all in straight sets. After destroying her first four main-draw opponents, the 18-year-old Brit ran into stiffer competition in the form of Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic on Wednesday. Raducanu had no trouble erasing the world No. 12 via a 6-3, 6-4 scoreline.
Sakkari is also playing the best tennis of her career, but she is no tougher of an opponent than Bencic. It should also be noted that in her previous Grand Slam semi-final appearance at this year’s French Open, the Greek led Krejcikova 5-3 in the third set and had a match point to reach the final but could not convert. There could be some demons from that result, plus the pressure is on Sakkari as the veteran and the favorite in this matchup. This is a 50-50 match for me, so I’m not about to bypass a +2.5 spread.
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