Jessica Pegula vs. Victoria Azarenka Australian Open Odds, Pick: American to Book Semifinal Spot
Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Jessica Pegula.
Looking for Tuesday’s match picks? Click here!
Pegula vs. Azarenka Odds
|Time | How to Watch||3 a.m. ET | ESPN+|
|Odds via BetMGM. For tips on how to watch the Australian Open, click here.|
It was another straight-sets victory for Jessica Pegula, as she defeated Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 6-2 in the fourth round of the Australian Open.
Upcoming now is a stern test for the American. Pegula will face Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals. The two-time Aussie Open champion beat Lin Zhu 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to set up this showdown with Pegula.
Read on for my analysis below!
Pegula Rolling in Melbourne
The Guadalajara 1000 champion won just 63% of her first serves against Krejcikova, but did win 68% of her second-serve points and was only broken twice.
Pegula won 51% of her return points, including 64% of her second-serve returns. She generated a staggering 18 break points and broke on five occasions.
The American hit 20 winners compared to 20 unforced errors in the match. It was a much steadier performance compared to Krejcikova, who lowered her margins in an attempt to hit through Pegula.
Pegula is now 8-1 on the season, having won her last eight matches and 16 sets. She has gotten consistent depth on her groundstrokes and is doing an excellent job with her movement and controlled aggression.
Azarenka Building on Aussie Glory
Azarenka’s match against Zhu was as tough as the scoreline indicated. She won 70% of her first-serve points, but only 32% of her second serves. The Belarusian also had to defend against 14 break points.
However, Azarenka was strong on return, winning 46% of her return points, including 44% on Zhu’s first serve. She generated 15 break points and broke on seven occasions.
She’s been a force from the baseline in this tournament, being aggressive with her groundstrokes whenever given the opportunity to do so. This is especially the case with her forehand, which she uses to punish any short ball from her opponents.
The quick conditions at the tournament also give her groundstrokes the extra pop they need.
Azarenka’s serve is fairly strong, but it has dropped off in her past couple of matches. After winning 20-of-34 of her second serve points and only getting broken once in her first two rounds combined, Azarenka has only won 23-of-62 second serves and gotten broken nine times in her last two matches.
And while Azarenka’s first-serve percentage was over 65% in her first two matches, it’s been below 65% in her last two matches.
Pegula vs. Azarenka Pick
Pegula’s depth won’t give Azarenka the short balls that Zhu often gave up, which allowed Azarenka to tee off and dominate from the baseline.
Her anticipation, ability to hang onto the baseline and counterpunching skills also will be very important. Azarenka won’t be able to drag Pegula around the court often, and even when she is able to establish control of rallies, Pegula can turn points around quickly.
She balances power and consistency very well. Azarenka won’t be able to bank on 39 unforced errors, which Madison Keys coughed up in their third round match.
At the same time, she will have to deal with far better offense than she faced from her second round adversary, Nadia Podoroska. Podoroska only hit 10 winners in that match.
Azarenka’s second serve will need to improve from her past couple of matches, as Pegula can smother her opponents’ second serves. Getting ahead on her service points is more important for Azarenka than Pegula, given that Pegula is currently better from the baseline than Azarenka is.
When looking at Elo ratings, Pegula’s overall Elo is 108.3 points higher than Azarenka’s and her hard-court Elo is 103.6 points higher than the Belarusian’s.
Pick: Pegula -3.5 games (-145 via BetMGM)