Australian Open Women's Final Betting Tips & Preview: Who will come out on top in Melbourne
26 January 2024
Andy Schooler previews Saturday’s Australian Open women’s singles final between Qinwen Zheng and Aryna Sabalenka.
There’s little doubt that Aryna Sabalenka has been the best player at the Australian Open but, of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean she will be crowned champion.
The market certainly expects her to, though – the Belarusian is just 1.18 to win Saturday’s final against first-time Grand Slam finalist Qinwen Zheng (5.8).
Given the way she’s playing, it should go to form.
Sabalenka has been crushing the ball in her familiar style and opponents haven’t been able to cope.
She’s yet to lose a set in Melbourne with only Coco Gauff, in the semi-finals, getting anywhere close to here.
This looks less of a test.
Zheng has reached the final without facing a player from the world’s top 50. That’s not happened in the last four decades.
This will therefore be a big step up and while she will bring weapons to the court, Sabalenka has them in greater quantity and quality.
Zheng will need her first serve to fire. It’s one of the best on the tour but the problem is it doesn’t find its mark often enough – she’s below 50% for first serves in so far in 2024.
That leaves her vulnerable with her second delivery very attackable.
She’s won only 45% of her second serve points at this tournament and with Sabalenka having won 66% of points on her opponents’ second serve, this looks the area where the Belarusian will likely win the match.
The main worry for Sabalenka backers is on the mental side.
She won the title her 12 months ago – her maiden Slam title – but at the other majors it’s fair to say she rather choked things away, losing from a set up in both the Wimbledon semis and US Open final, and also blowing match point in her French Open semi-final.
Sabalenka has to deal with the pressure of being a heavy favourite here and so it’s far from impossible she tightens up in this contest too.
If that happens, Zheng could reward at a big price.
As well as being 5.8 to win the match, the Chinese is 11.5 to win 2-1 and 13.0 to win from behind.
However, Sabalenka came through a sticky spell in the first set against Gauff when things looked to be going downhill somewhat and I think that will have done her the world of good, mentally.
The way she’s played over the past two weeks suggests she will win and the value play for me is to back Zheng to go the same way as most of her opponents in Melbourne.
Sabalenka has won in under 20.5 games in five of the six rounds so far, only Gauff avoiding such a loss.
It’s a 1.85 chance here and that looks the bet to me.
Zheng’s vulnerability on serve should mean Sabalenka has plenty of chances to break, while on the other side of the net it’s worth noting that Zheng failed to create a single break point in the pair’s only previous meeting, which came at last year’s US Open.
Sabalenka won 6-1 6-4 that day and something similar here would be no surprise.
Australian Open Women’s Singles Final Predictions
Back Aryna Sabalenka to win and under 20.5 games @ 1.77
26 January 2024