Elena Rybakina vs. Victoria Azarenka Australian Open Odds, Pick: Form Too Good to Pass Up

Elena Rybakina vs. Victoria Azarenka Australian Open Odds, Pick: Form Too Good to Pass Up article feature image

Will Murray/Getty. Pictured: Elena Rybakina.

Rybakina vs. Azarenka Odds

Rybakina Odds-210
 Azarenka Odds+165
Over/Under21.5 (-125 / -105)
Time | How to WatchThu. 3:30 a.m. ET | ESPN+
Odds via PointsBet. For tips on how to watch the Australian Open, click here.

Elena Rybakina continues to rip through her draw at the Australian Open. Last year's Wimbledon championdefeated Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4 to reach the semifinals in Melbourne.

Rybakina will now take on two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals. Azarenka toppled Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-1 in an impressive showing last time out.

Read on for my analysis below!

Rybakina Destroying Her Opposition

The Kazakh played a fantastic match to beat Ostapenko. Rybakina held Ostapenko to 55% of her service points won, which includes winning 45% of her first-serve returns. Rybakina broke serve on four occasions.

In fact, in every Australian Open match so far, Rybakina has tallied four breaks and held her opponents to 60% or fewer of their service points won.

Against Ostapenko, Rybakina hit 24 winners versus 21 unforced errors.

Rybakina won 76% of her first serves, hit 11 aces and was broken just once in the match. She was clutch, saving 7-of-8 break points on her way to victory.

In this tournament, Rybakina has won over 75% of her first-serve points in all five matches. She's only been broken a combined seven times in those matches, and only four times since the first round.

It's no surprise that Rybakina's serve has been so dominant. As I mentioned in my last article, Rybakina was top-10 in aces, first-serve points won, service games won and service points won in 2022.

In addition, Rybakina's ball-striking from the baseline has been elite. She is crushing the ball from both wings, overpowering her opposition and forcing them to play far more defense than they would like.

Seeing Rybakina bully huge ball strikers like Ostapenko or her third-round opponent, Danielle Collins, has been extraordinary to watch.

Despite Rybakina winning Wimbledon and going an impressive 40-21 in last season, her level is even higher in this tournament.

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Azarenka Putting Together an Incredible Run

Against Pegula, Azarenka won 55% of her return points, generating 13 break points and breaking on five occasions. She won 50% of Pegula's first-serve points.

And while Azarenka's service numbers aren't quite as impressive, she still won 68% of her first serves and was broken just twice.

It was an uncharacteristically poor performance from Pegula, who hit 31 unforced errors, but Azarenka had the champion's pedigree to take advantage.

Azarenka went 24-13 last year, ending the season winning nine of her last 13 matches. The Belarusian has taken her momentum with her into 2023.

She plays aggressive tennis from the baseline, constantly trying to get on top of points and impose her will on her opposition. Azarenka is particularly adept at dictating with her forehand.

Her backhand can break down at times, but she still tries to be offensive with the stroke.

Azarenka hits her spots on serve with some pace, but in her last three matches she has failed to win 75% of her first-serve points. She's gotten broken 11 times combined.

Finally, while the Belarusian's movement is not a major weakness, she's certainly not as fast as she was a few years ago.

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Rybakina vs. Azarenka Pick

We saw in Azarenka's third-round 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over the big-hitting Madison Keys how she can be made uncomfortable by an in-form big hitter.

Keys eventually hit herself out of that match, with 31 unforced errors combined in the last two sets. But, she showcased that when a power play can establish control over the baseline and limit her unforced error – like Keys did in the first set – Azarenka becomes uncomfortable

She wants to be the one pressuring her opposition, refusing to get bullied around the court. This also exposes Azarenka's lack of elite movement and wipes out the major strength of her game: baseline aggression.

Rybakina has the sheer power to control the baseline and the control over her groundstrokes to not hit herself out of the match.

The Kazakh will use that controlled aggression to pressure Azarenka's backhand in a way that the Belarusian's opponents haven't been able to do so far.

Rybakina's serve is also clearly a level above Azarenka's. While Azarenka was able to generate 39 break points in her last three matches combined, she will get far fewer looks on Rybakina's serve. This makes her own (relatively) ho-hum serving performances more important.

In addition to the limited number of breaks that I mentioned earlier, Rybakina has only given up 17 break-point opportunities in this entire tournament.

She will dominate once again.

Pick: Rybakina -3.5 games (-110 via PointsBet)

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