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Australian Open Odds, Picks, Predictions: Sabalenka Will Keep Up Momentum (January 22)

Australian Open Odds, Picks, Predictions: Sabalenka Will Keep Up Momentum (January 22) article feature image
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Patrick Hamilton/Getty. Pictured: Aryna Sabalenka.

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The round of 16 continues at the Australian Open, as the rubber meets the road in Melbourne.

I’ve found more betting value on two matches, including Aryna Sabalenka vs. Belinda Bencic

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

Aryna Sabalenka (-155) vs. Belinda Bencic (+125)

7 p.m. ET

Aryna Sabalenka continued to excel in round 3, defeating Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-3. Sabalenka won 70% of her service points, hit just four double faults and was only broken once.  She also won 50% of her return points, managing to break four times.

Sabalenka has won her first seven matches and all 14 sets that she’s played in 2023. Everything is clicking right now, whether it be her huge first serve that often finds its targets or her massive groundstrokes that dictate play.

This year, Sabalenka has largely managed to avoid the self-inflicted wounds (i.e. double faults and unforced errors) that plagued her in 2022.

Belinda Bencic played a solid match to advance 6-2, 7-5 over Camila Giorgi. Bencic won 69% of her first serves and was broken just twice. She won 51% of her return points, including over-half on Giorgi’s first serve.

Like Sabalenka, Bencic is currently in incredible form. She is 9-1 on the season, with her only loss to Iga Swiatek. Bencic won the Adelaide 2 title, dropping only one set in the process, and has now won eight straight sets.

The Swiss’ game is built from the baseline, where she is incredibly solid from both wings. Bencic anticipates her opponents’ shots well and maintains her footing on the baseline. In addition, she is a strong counterpuncher.

Sabalenka will be tough to beat here. She has won over 70% of her first-serve points in every match, has only been broken twice in 26 service games so far and is on another level.

Despite Bencic’s ability to hold onto the baseline and counterpunch effectively, Sabalenka’s level of controlled aggression will rip through the Swiss’ defenses.

Like her opponents so far in Melbourne, Bencic will feel underpowered in this one.

Pick: Sabalenka -2.5 games (-110 via PointsBet)

Caroline Garcia (-300) vs. Magda Linette (+225)

8:15 p.m. ET

Caroline Garcia advanced in Melbourne, defeating Laura Siegemund 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. Garcia won 71% of her first serves, but only 46% of her second serves, getting broken three times. But, the Frenchwoman was able to win 43% of her first-serve return points, breaking four times.

Garcia is 6-1 to start the season, but has only won 52% of her games against top 175 players. When she’s playing well, Garcia has a massive first serve, which is so important in women’s tennis. She is ultra-aggressive, trying to immediately take the initiative in points and put her opponents’ under pressure.

However, unforced errors can flow from Garcia’s racquet at times.

Magda Linette took down Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3, 6-4 in the third round. Linette won 69% of her first serves and was only broken twice.  She was all over Alexandrova’s big serve, winning 45% of her return points and breaking four times. Linette hit 16 winners versus nine unforced errors.

Linette is now 6-2 in 2023. The Pole is a strong hard-court player, having gone 26-18 in 2022 and 254-183 in her career on hard. Linette does nothing spectacular on court, but plays solid tennis from both wings.

As showcased by beating Alexandrova and the big-hitting Anett Kontaveit in the second round, Linette is absorbing power very well at the moment.

Garcia has been a bit hot-or-miss in Melbourne, having not found her stride yet. She has moments where she’s punished her opposition with her aggressive play, and others where she struggled to find the court.

Linette has been steady and already showcased this tournament that she can hold her own against power players.

Her counterpunching this tournament has been world-class and she’s returning well, having held all of her opponents at the Australian Open so far to under 65% of their first serves won and under 50% of their second serves won.

I like Linette to take a set.

Pick: Linette +1.5 sets (-120 via BetMGM)

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