2019 US Open WTA Semifinals Odds, Preview: Is Serena Overpriced Against Svitolina?

2019 US Open WTA Semifinals Odds, Preview: Is Serena Overpriced Against Svitolina? article feature image

Robert Deutsch, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Serena Williams

  • Serena Williams (-305) is a big favorite over Elina Svitolina in the US Open Semifinals.
  • In the other semifinal, Bianca Andreescu (-152) and Belinda Bencic should be pretty tight and very entertaining.
  • Brett Farrenkopf provides betting strategies for both semifinal matches on Thursday night.

We’ve reached the final four on both sides of the US Open. The women’s semifinals will take place on Thursday night with Serena Williams vs. Elina Svitolina at 7 p.m. ET on Arthur Ashe Court followed by Bianca Andreescu vs. Belinda Bencic.

Williams is the biggest favorite on the card at -2

Let’s dive in.

All odds via PointsBet and current as of 11 a.m. ET.

Serena Williams (-305) vs. Elina Svitolina (+235)

Thursday, 7 p.m. ET

Throughout the early stages of her career, Elina Svitolina was known as one of the best players in the world in non-Grand Slams.  The 24-year-old Ukrainian has flipped that narrative in 2019, earning berths into two semifinals, including the US Open. She still has never made a final in a slam and it won’t be easy tonight as she tries to pass the stiffest test on tour, Serena Williams.

Serena was at her peak on Tuesday night in a romp over Qiang Wang, winning 6-1, 6-0. Svitolina will offer a much more competitive match with her superior movement and defense.

This is the sixth meeting between Svitolina and Serena, with the American holding a 4-1 advantage. Svitolina did win their last match at the 2016 Rio Olympics and Svitolina’s game has grown leaps and bounds since the Olympics, so I am not sure how much stock to put in their head-to-head.

The most difficult part of this match to handicap is the nerves from both players. Svitolina has only been in this spot once before, losing to Simona Halep 6-1, 6-3, on grass — the Ukrainian’s worst surface. Svitolina has been playing great tennis and considering she is a big underdog, she could play freely.

On the other hand, Serena’s quest for her 24th Grand Slam, has been quite the journey. There have been countless matches where nerves have completely sapped her. Last year, Serena succumbed to the pressure against Naomi Osaka in the final and three years ago she fell as a -2500 favorite against Roberta Vinci. At this point, it’s impossible to get a feel for Serena’s nerves in a big match.

Serena still holds a big advantage in the power department, but Svitolina is one of the best movers in the game and will be able to return a lot of Serena’s power. Svitolina’s counter-attacking skills are the reason she’s in the top 10 in the world and if she can place her serve well and not allow Serena to win free points off her second serve, she stands a good chance under the lights.

Svitolina already showed she can handle power with a victory over Madison Keys in Round 4. Serena is much better at harnessing her strength than Keys, but Svitolina should be confident after that display.

One thing that does give Serena more of an edge is the conditions. The humidity should be relatively low, which should make it easier to hit the ball through the court.

I’m playing Svitolina at any number above +220. I fancy her defensive skills and think she can take advantage of any mental lapse from the GOAT.

Bianca Andreescu (-152) vs. Belinda Bencic (+123)

Thursday, approx. 9:30 p.m. ET

This could be the match of the tournament. Both players are operating at such a high level and have risen to the moment so far.

Bencic looked fantastic against a defensive and powerful Donna Vekic on Wednesday, taking balls early and displaying an extremely impressive serve.

Bencic made only 58% of her first serves but won 84% of first-serve points. Nearly every first-serve point was constructed beautifully from Bencic and led to easy winners.

Andreescu struggled in the first set against Elise Mertens on Wednesday, but she was able to take hold of the second set and never let up. The Canadian will present better movement but similar power to what Bencic faced against Vekic. Andreescu has much more variety to her game than Vekic, though.

If Andreescu is to come out on top, she will need to play at a higher level than where she was on Wednesday. Bencic will take balls earlier and keep the 19-year-old back pedaling throughout the match if she starts as poorly as she did versus Mertens. Bencic is a very difficult puzzle to solve if she’s stepping into the court and controlling the baseline.

The biggest factor in this match besides who makes the most first serves is who can control the baseline. Both players are nearly unstoppable if they own the back-line,  Andreescu with her power, Bencic with her early, crisp precision.

This is a razor-thin matchup, though I believe Bencic has put together a better tournament, overall. She’s faced tougher competition, especially in her last two matches against Naomi Osaka and an in-form Vekic.

In what is arguably the biggest match of either player’s career, my strategy is to sit back and live-bet the underdog. You’ll most likely get a chance to play back later as this match should feature plenty of swings.

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