Australian Open Odds, Picks, Predictions: World No. 1 on Upset Alert (January 21)

Australian Open Odds, Picks, Predictions: World No. 1 on Upset Alert (January 21) article feature image

Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Iga Swiatek.

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The round of 16 begins at the Australian Open, and the field has really started to narrow down.

I’ve found more betting value on two matches for us to take a look at, including World No. 1 Iga Swiatek vs. Elena Rybakina.

Read on for my Australian Open picks and predictions.

Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing Australian Open matches.

Australian Open Odds, Picks & Predictions

Iga Swiatek (-450) vs. Elena Rybakina (+320)

8:30 p.m. ET

Swiatek defeated an overmatched Cristina Bucsa 6-0, 6-1 in the third round. She won 82% of her service points and didn't face a break point. On return, she won 65% of her return points.

In 2022, Swiatek won twoSlams and reached world number one. She has a heavy, precise forehand that she uses to dictate play from the baseline, her backhand is solid and her serve can also be a weapon.

However, the Pole can become rushed against power players who don't give her time to set up on her groundstrokes, especially on quicker surfaces (like the courts in Melbourne).

Elena Rybakina overcame a tough test from Danielle Collins, beating the American 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. Rybakina won 82% of the points behind her massive first serve, 65% of her second-serve points and only faced one break point. She effectively attacked Collins' second serve, winning 57% of her return points.

Rybakina broke through with a Wimbledon title last season. Overall, Rybakina was 40-21 in 2022, including a 23-14 record on hard courts. The Kazakh has a missile first serve, having won over 75% of her first serves in every match so far in Melbourne.

And, while Rybakina doesn't move particularly well, she dominates from the baseline from both wings, taking the racquet out of her opponents' hands with punishing groundstrokes

Rybakina is a different opponent than Swiatek has faced in her past couple matches, with neither Bucsa nor her second-round opponent, Camila Osorio, having nearly enough power to make Swiatek uncomfortable.

On the other hand, Rybakina has the serve to get ahead in points and stick with Swiatek.

Her power from the baseline will also rush Swiatek and not allow the Pole to dictate play. The Kazakh also has the Slam pedigree that is so important in a match like this.

I trust her to pose a real test to Swiatek.

Pick: Over 20.5 games (-120 via PointsBet)

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Coco Gauff (-400) vs. Jelena Ostapenko (+290)

9 p.m. ET

Coco Gauff defeated Bernarda Pera 6-3, 6-2 in the third round. Although she won just 45% of her second serves, Gauff won 70% of her first serves and was broken just once.

She has won her first eight matches of the new season, which includes a WTA title in Auckland. In fact, Gauff has won all 16 sets that she's played in 2023. The American's backhand is a huge weapon that she uses to control the baseline. And Gauff's speed, net play and tennis IQ are all superb.

Even Gauff's forehand – traditionally a weakness for her – has improved over the offseason.

Jelena Ostapenko took down an overmatched Kateryna Baindl 6-3, 6-0 to advance in Melbourne. Despite winning just 41% of her second serves, Ostapenko won 88% of her first-serve points and faced just a single break point.

Ostapenko is now 4-2 to start 2023, having gone 33-19 in 2022, including a 22-13 record on hard courts. The Latvian can struggle with her serve at times, but has massive groundstrokes that allow her to dominate from the baseline, often turning neutral rally balls into massive winners.

However, Ostapenko often struggles to maintain control over her groundstrokes, over-pressing if she's not finding early-ball winners.

Gauff has the level to neutralize Ostapenko's game. Her foot speed will give the Latvian fits. Ostapenko will lower the margins on her groundstrokes as she is struggling to find opportunities to attack.

But, Gauff is far from a defensive player that Ostapenko can push around. Gauff's first serve will get her plenty of free points and her backhand will give Ostapenko fits, forcing her in defensive positions.

In addition, Gauff's willingness to attack the net will be a change-of-pace compared to what Ostapenko has seen so far in Melbourne. Ostapenko's three opponents at the Australian Open have gone to the net on a combined nine times. Gauff will likely eclipse that number herself.

Pick: Gauff -1.5 sets (-145 via BetMGM)

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