2019 WTA Australian Open Final Betting Preview: Osaka Seeks Second-Straight Slam

2019 WTA Australian Open Final Betting Preview: Osaka Seeks Second-Straight Slam article feature image
Credit:

Pierre Lahalle, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Naomi Osaka

Australian Open Women’s Final Odds

  • Petra Kvitova: -125
  • Naomi Osaka: +115

After a fairly straightforward tournament, sans the rise of American Danielle Collins, the Women’s side of the Australian Open ends tonight with a final between Petra Kvitova (-125) and Naomi Osaka.

If you like firepower, this match should have plenty — as both former major champions can absolutely mash a tennis ball and have played brilliant tennis for the entire fortnight.

Kvitova has yet to lose a set and the only player who has really challenged her so far was the aformentioned Collins when she forced a first-set tiebreak. Kvitova took the breaker and then dispatched Collins, 6-0, in the second set. After appearing more fit coming into the 2019 season, Petra has now won 11 straight matches (and 22 of her last 23 sets).

The Czech will face her stiffest competition yet in Naomi Osaka, who has been tested far more often this tournament:

  • In the third round, Osaka was down a set and a break to the wily and tricky veteran Su-Wei Hsieh.
  • Anastasija Sevastova then had her on the ropes in the Round of 16, but Osaka rose to the occasion and won nearly every important point in the second and third sets
  • And after a dominant first set in her semifinal match against Karolina Pliskova, Osaka’s level dropped and she found herself in her third three set match of the tournament. She recovered once again and won every important point in the third set, saving all four break points and converting her only break chance as well as her first match point.

If you’re looking for a history between these two, you won’t find it. This Australian Open final will mark the first ever meeting between these two women. Considering Osaka won the most recent Slam (2018 US Open) and Kvitova has two Wimbledon titles, I don’t expect too many early nerves.

In what looks like an extremely even match on paper, I think a few key factors can swing this match for one player.

Throughout the tournament Kvitova has just relentlessly mashed the ball through the court and simply overpowered each of her six opponents in Melbourne. Osaka certainly doesn’t lack power herself and she possesses more variety in her game and has better overall court movement.

Conditions Check

Also, the conditions in Melbourne at night play slower, which I think this favors Osaka. Kvitova will have more trouble hitting through the court after dark against a player in Osaka who moves better than most players on Tour.

Osaka should be able to extend rallies, which will ultimately increase the chances of unforced errors off the racket of Kvitova.

The weather should be near perfect for the match with one caveat, wind. The daytime forecast in Melbourne calls for a high of 81 with calm winds. However, according to WindFinder, we can expect to see sustained winds of 15 mph — with gusts up to 20 mph. This should give Osaka an edge over Kvitova, who prefers more controlled conditions.

I will say that if it somehow rains tonight and the roof gets closed, it would massively favor Kvitova. However, with no rain in the forecast, an expected breezy night with the roof open will benefit Osaka, who plays with more margin than Petra.

Final Analysis

If Kvitova is firing on all cylinders from the start and painting lines throughout, Osaka will have a tough time winning this match. But that works both ways. I just can’t pass up Osaka at plus-money in a matchup of two power players (and former Slam champions) for the five primary reasons I mentioned above:

  • More variety
  • Better movement
  • Court plays slower at night
  • Windy conditions expected
  • No rain in forecast

Osaka has risen to the occasion all tournament and is the much steadier player. Plus, beating Serena in the U.S. Open final in New York will make this task a lot less intimidating.

Osaka has the mental toughness for this stage; look no further than her WTA record 59-match winning streak after winning the first set.

I think we will see our first back-to-back WTA Grand Slam champion since Serena won the French Open and Wimbledon in 2015.

The Play: Naomi Osaka +115