Australian Open Semifinal Odds and Pick: Ashleigh Barty vs. Sofia Kenin, Garbine Muguruza vs. Simona Halep
Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images. Pictured: Simona Halep
Ashleigh Barty vs. Sofia Kenin
- Barty odds: -330
- Kenin odds: +260
- Time: 10 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN 2
This should be a great matchup between two players that have a lot of variety in their game. Barty is the more accomplished and all around more talented player, but Kenin has a drive and competitiveness that is rare for any tennis player.
Barty and Kenin have met five times in their professional careers, including four times last season. Barty owns a 4-1 edge, though Kenin’s lone win came on hard court last summer. There only other hard-court meeting was later in the year when Barty won, 6-3, 7-5, in Wuhan.
Barty owns a wide array of plus-shots in her arsenal and she has a superior serve compared to Kenin. Barty figures to have the weight of a country on her back, though, as she tries to be the first Aussie woman to win the Australian Open since 1978.
Odds as of Wednesday afternoon and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Despite the talent gap and home-court advantage, I think there is some value on Kenin at +210. She will grind out points and not give an inch to Barty. A pro-Australian crowd will not hinder her at all as she already beat Coco Gauff while the crowd was behind Gauff.
The match could hinge on Kenin’s first serve. Any free service point for the young American will be big. If Barty is on form, she can blast winners once rallies get underway and frustrate Kenin with the significant spin she can put on her slice shots.
The X-Factor could be how each player handles the extreme heat. Temperatures are supposed to creep into the upper-90’s and it’s a coin flip on whether or not they will close the roof at Rod Laver Arena. It’s very difficult to handicap who would handle the heat better, Barty is from Australia while Kenin trains in the heat and humidity of South Florida, so the weather has the potential to flip the match.
I make Kenin a +200 underdog in this match, so I will have a smaller play on the American. I also think the Over 21 games is worth a play as I think this will be a competitive match, given Kenin’s refusal to quit and the potential for Barty to be a little tight at times.
Simona Halep vs. Garbine Muguruza
Halep odds: -152
Muguruza odds: +130
Time: Approx. 12 a.m. ET
TV: ESPN 2
These are two of the most accomplished players on tour, but I think these odds are selling Halep a bit short, even if Muguruza is in fantastic form heading into the semifinal.
Despite winning two Grand Slams, Muguruza has never really met her early career expectations. The Spaniard has the ability to raise her game at any moment and has handled big matches well in the past, going 3-0 in slam semifinals. Halep also is up for the moment with a 5-2 record in Grand Slam semifinals. Interestingly, neither Halep nor Muguruza has ever made it to the final of a hard-court slam.
Muguruza is 3-2 over Halep in their respective careers including a 3-0 record on hard courts. Rod Laver Arena is playing very slow though which benefits Halep’s defensive, counter-attacking style.
If the roof is open it is hard to tell which player it would hinder more. Will the conditions wear on Halep’s defense? Or will it get to Muguruza, who will have to hit 2-3 more winners versus the superior defender?
Both players have been magnificient throughout the whole fortnight, but Halep will pounce on any lapse from Muguruza. If the heat does not wear her down, I think she wins. I have her priced as a -165 favorite. It’s a bit of a steep price but she should outlast Muguruza in a battle.