Jasmine Paolini vs Elena-Gabriela Ruse: Australian Open Round One Odds, Preview & Analysis (Jan.15)

Jasmine Paolini vs Elena-Gabriela Ruse: Australian Open Round One Odds, Preview & Analysis (Jan.15) article feature image

Sarah Reed/Getty. Pictured: Jasmine Paolini hits a forehand at the Adelaide International.

Jasmine Paolini vs. Elena-Gabriela Ruse

Paolini Odds-124
Ruse Odds+106
Time11 p.m. ET (subject to change)
Odds via FanDuel. For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.

Both Jasmine Paolini and Elena-Gabriela-Ruse had breakthrough 2021 seasons.

Paolini won her first-ever WTA singles title, beating Alison Riske 7-6(4), 6-2 to win the hard-court Slovenia Open in September. This helped see her rise in the rankings from world number 95 at the end of the 2020 season to world number 53 at the end of the 2021 season.

Ruse also had a huge 2021 season. She rose up the rankings from world number 177 to world number 85 on the back of a July to remember. During the month of July, Ruse won the clay-court Hamburg Open, beating Andrea Petkovic in straight sets.

Then, later that month she made the final of the Palermo Open, which was also on clay. And while she fell in that match to Danielle Collins, she announced herself to the world as a player to watch out for.

This season, both players have had fair starts.

Paolini, like usual, played some good baseline tennis, but struggled to generate power on her serve. Paolini’s not going to typically serve opponents off of the court. She needs to win baseline rallies and she needs matches to gain a rhythm.

Even so, there are some concerns for her that during the first four matches of the season, Paolini faced 48 break points. But, at the same time, she’s generated 48 of her own, and  so it's not hard to see how this type of erratic play is responsible for her pedestrian 2-2 record this year.

It’s interesting to note that three of Paolini’s first four matches this season were in three sets. And, in fact, six of Paolini’s last seven overall matches were in three sets.

Ruse made the first round of the Melbourne Summer Set 1, but fell to Simona Halep. She then played Sydney, where she qualified, but lost in the second round to Anett Kontaveit.

Yes, those are both fine losses, but in Sydney, I did not like the way Ruse was serving. If we discount a blowout win over the completely overmatched world number 766 Alexandra Osborne in the first round of Sydney qualifying, then her serve had some issues.

Against Fiona Ferro, Ruse hit two aces compared to four double faults, only won 51% of her service points, and got broken five times.

Against Magdalena Frech, a player whose tenacity and determination rival Paolini’s. Ruse hit two aces, seven double faults, won 51% of her service points while serving only 52% first serves in, and got broken seven times. She still managed to win the match in three sets.

And then, when she faced Kontaveit, Ruse only made 50% of her first serves, hitting two aces compared to seven double faults, winning 43% of her service points and getting broken six times in eight service games.

To be fair to Ruse, she also has had success on return. If we look at results following the Osborne match in Sydney, she was able to break serve 16 times during those three matches.

Betting Value

As the above summary of their recent play has shown, this is going to be a baseline-centric match with lots of breaks.

And, quite frankly, when I look for an edge in terms of the winner, there always seems to be a "but" thrown in there. Paolini has the better overall and hard-court Elo, but both are close to one another. Ruse has won four of the five sets they’ve played, all on hard courts, but Paolini’s hard court game has taken off since their most recent matchup last season.

Paolini has played more matches on hard courts over the course of her career, but Ruse has the higher winning percentage on hard courts.

With all of this said, I think the over is the play. This is a very even match and the winner is very hard to call.

Three of Paolini’s four matches this season have went over 21.5 games. And, if we throw out Ruse’s matches against top competition (Halep, Kontaveit) and overmatched competition (Rodionova, Osborne) and look at her matches against Ferro and Frech, both of those matches went over.

Over 21.5 games at only -105 feels like a bit of a steal.

Pick: Over 21.5 games (-105 via FanDuel)

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