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Anett Kontaveit vs. Serena Wiliams US Open Odds, Preview: End of the Road For the GOAT?

Anett Kontaveit vs. Serena Wiliams US Open Odds, Preview: End of the Road For the GOAT? article feature image
Credit:

Frey/Getty. Pictured: Serena Williams.

  • Serena Williams is an underdog in her second round US Open match against Anett Kontaveit.
  • Will she be able to pull off a legendary win?
  • David Gertler explains why you should steer clear.

Kontaveit vs. Williams Odds

Kontaveit Odds -220
 Williams Odds +180
Over/Under 21.5
Time | How to Watch 7 p.m. ET | ESPN
Odds via FanDuel. For tips on how to watch the US Open, click here.

World No. 2 Anett Kontaveit has a stiff test on her hands as she faces Serena Williams in the second round of the US Open.

Williams is retiring from professional tennis following this tournament and will certainly have the crowd on her side to an extreme levell in this match.

However, Kontaveit is a huge step up in competition for Williams, who had beaten World No. 80 Danka Kovinic in the opening round of the tournament.

How will this fascinating matchup shape up? Read on for my analysis.

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Kontaveit Off to a Strong Start in New York

In the first round, Kontaveit beat Jaqueline Cristian 6-3, 6-0. Kontaveit won 85% of her first-serve points and was only broken once all match. In addition, the Estonian won 57% of her return points, including 76% on Cristian’s second serve. This allowed Kontaveit to break five times.

Overall, Kontaveit hit a solid 20 winners compared to 20 unforced errors. She won the last nine games of the match.

Kontaveit is just 4-3 during the summer hard-court season, reaching just one quarterfinal (in Prague) out of the four tournaments she played during this time. It must be said, however, that she is still 18-8 on hard courts this season and 25-13 overall on the year.

The Estonian plays with controlled aggression from the baseline, trying to take control of rallies and hit through her opposition. She is solid from both wings and gets good depth on her groundstrokes.

Where Kontaveit can run into difficulties, however, is when she isn’t confident.  The control over her groundstrokes can decline rapidly. Kontaveit has had plenty of times this season where she has completely lost her rhythm on her groundstrokes, leading to bunches of unforced errors.

With the pressure of playing Serena Williams on Arthur Ashe Wednesday night, that isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.

Serena Williams Isn’t Quite Done Yet

While Williams will be retiring after the US Open, she’s certainly not going down quietly. Williams took down Kovinic 6-3, 6-3, putting 66% of her first serves into play and winning 76% of her first-serve points. Williams also saved 8-of-10 break points.

On return, Williams won 56% of her return points, including 69% of the points on Kovinic’s second serve. This allowed Williams to generate 11 break points and break five times.

Williams hit a solid 23 winners compared to 25 unforced errors. She also won 14-of-19 net points, utilizing crisp volleys at the net.

The American has struggled during the summer hard-court swing, going 2-2 so far. She didn’t win a set in her two straight-set defeats to Belinda Bencic in Toronto and Emma Raducanu in Cincinnati.

While her footwork marginally improved against Kovinic, she has struggled with both her footwork and her overall movement around the court since returning to the tour with a loss to Harmony Tan at Wimbledon.

Williams was able to control the baseline often enough where her movement didn’t matter as much against Kovinic, but that will be tougher against a big ball striker in Kontaveit.

At her best, Williams had massive first and second serves, punishing groundstrokes and excellent variety. However, like with her footwork and movement, all aspects of the American’s game has declined in recent years.

She’s not able to hit with the same precision, control nor touch that she once had.

Betting Value

Williams is the “big name,” but Kontaveit is much better than Williams at this time in their respective careers, especially on hard courts. In fact, the Estonian has the seventh-highest hard-court Elo Rating on the WTA Tour.

Kontaveit is more reliable from the baseline than Williams and is much fitter. Her power game is also much better than Kovinic’s, meaning that she will also be able move Williams around the court much more effectively, wearing Williams down and highlighting her weaker movement and footwork.

The only hesitations here are that Kontaveit has not played her best tennis until that first-round match and that the crowd will massively be on Williams’ side, which could easily get into Kontaveit’s head, causing this match to be much closer than it should be.

I think Kontaveit will cover, but it’s very-much a lean. Be careful with this spread, but stay away from Williams.

Lean:  Kontaveit -3.5 Games (-118 via FanDuel)

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