2020 Australian Open WTA Day 10 Betting Picks & Odds: Can Anett Kontaveit Wear Down Simona Halep in the Quarterfinals?
Rob Carr/Getty Images. Pictured: Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.
Tuesday features the last two quarterfinal matches on the women’s side, but I see significant value in one matchup:
- Anett Kontaveit vs. Simona Halep (7 p.m. ET)
Simona Halep (-260) vs Anett Kontaveit (+210)
Both players enter the quarterfinals with impressive victories, but each had a hiccup in their previous match. Kontaveit blew a 5-1 lead in the final set before winning 7-5. Halep was up a break at 3-2 in the second but dropped serve. She eventually rallied to win the set 6-4.
Kontaveit’s win was very impressive considering she lost the first set, but was greatly aided by her opponent, Iga Swiatek, wearing down towards the end of the second set both physically and mentally. Unfortunately for Kontaveit, there is a near zero percent chance Halep tires the way Swiatek did.
The best aspect of Kontaveit’s game in the Round of 16 was how well she differed. She routinely forced Swiatek to hit 2-3 extra winners, and many times that led to errors from Swiatek.
For one, Halep will not be playing as big of a game as Swiatek and will not try to crush winners. Kontaveit’s best chance to win this match is to change her tactics and become more aggressive like she was in her first three round wins.
The problem, though, is that Halep is a different beast compared to anyone Kontaveit has seen so far. Halep has yet to drop a set, and the slower court speeds (especially in Rod Laver Arena) have greatly benefited the Romanian’s game (similar to Thiem on the men’s side).
The lack of spin and slower speeds plays right into Halep’s defensive game. This is much closer to clay than it is a fast hard-court. She can get to nearly any ball on the court and always out grind her opponents.
In their two previous meetings Halep has yet to drop a set winning on clay in Rome and a medium-fast hard court in Miami. Kontaveit is a better player now than she was back in 2017 when both matches occurred, but Halep is playing with sky high confidence.
The other major aspect of this match is experience. This is Kontaveit’s first ever Grand Slam quarterfinal. It is Halep’s 13th. She is 7-6, including 1-2 in Melbourne. Kontaveit was very tight trying to close her match vs Swiatek in the round of 16. She cannot afford that to happen versus Halep.
Ultimately, I cannot see Halep losing this match. There’s a decent chance she gets broken a couple times — her serve is not the strongest aspect of her game — but unless Kontaveit is crushing her serve and winning multiple free points off it, I think Halep will dominate nearly every rally.
After opening at -180, Halep’s price has gotten into a more reasonable price range of around -230. I have her priced at -270. My play on the match will be Halep to win 2-0/-1.5 set spread at +115. I just don’t see how Kontaveit can compete on a point by point basis with Halep’s defense.