WTA Adelaide Predictions: How to Bet Azarenka vs Swiatek Showdown (Jan. 6)

WTA Adelaide Predictions: How to Bet Azarenka vs Swiatek Showdown (Jan. 6) article feature image

Credit: Icon Sportswire, Getty. Victoria Azarenka hits a backhand at the Adelaide International.

The stakes are rising as players fields are whittling away amongst the WTA tournaments in Adelaide and the Melbourne Summer Set Series. However, it’s Adelaide where we will find value this evening.

Tonight's card includes an exciting matchup between Misaki Doi and Kaja Juvan. Can Juvan back up her huge win over Aryna Sabalenka?

But the match of the night in Adelaide is a showdown between Victoria Azarenka and Iga Swiatek, with both players starting off the season well.

Let’s look at both of these matchups more closely.

Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on watching tennis matches. 

Misaki Doi (+160) vs Kaja Juvan (-210)

9:30 p.m. ET, Adelaide International

World number 105 Misaki Doi is quietly one of the most in-form players on the WTA Tour. Dating back to last season, she has won nine of 10 matches, with that 10th match being a retirement against McNally in Midland. She won a title at the $80k in Tyler (on a hard court). Including her loss to McNally, she has only dropped four sets in her previous ten matches.

Doi’s heavy, lefty forehand can give opponents fits, and she has used that shot well in beating Kristina Kucova and Anastasia Gasanova. Kucova was red-hot coming into the season, as well, and Gasanova had just beaten Elina Svitolina, so these wins are better than they initially appear to be.

World number 100 Kaja Juvan had a big win of her own in her previous match, world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka. Juvan won 7-6 (6), 6-1, pulling off the big upset over the Belarusian star. However, while the win looks good on paper, when you consider how erratic Sabalenka played and her 18 double faults over the course of the match, it didn’t feel like she was facing a top player.

Juvan is very solid from the baseline and it won’t be easy for Doi to break her down. With that said, I believe that Doi is just as good on a hard court as Juvan is. It’s important to note that both Doi’s over (1643.6) and  hard-court (1561.1) Elo ratings are higher than Juvan’s (1630.9 and 1559.4, respectively).

Doi is in-form and should be right in this match. This will be a baseline-centric match, with Doi trying to set herself up to hit forehands, and Juvan trying to maneuver the ball to her backhand side.

And If we’re going to have an evenly-contested match like this and get 3.5 games for Doi, then it has to be a strong play.

Pick: Misaki Doi +3.5 games (-115 via PointsBet)

Victoria Azarenka (+100) vs Iga Swiatek (-125)

3:30 a.m. ET, Adelaide International

World number 27 Victoria Azarenka has started out the season in strong fashion, beating Paula Badosa and Priscilla Hon in straight sets. The convincing 6-3, 6-2 win over world number eight Badosa was particularly impressive, with Azarenka winning 55% of her return points.

When Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion, locks in with her aggressive returns, she can be a nightmare to play against. But while Azarenka’s returning performance against Hon wasn’t quite as good, winning 49% of return points is still very impressive.

World number nine Iga Swiatek is showing why she won the title in Adelaide a year ago. After a comfortable victory over Daria Saville in the first round, she dominated the reigning US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez during her most recent match.

In her 6-1, 6-2 win over Fernandez, she won 84% of her first-serve points and 74% of her second-serve return points. It was a complete performance for the Pole, one in which her forehand dominated the baseline and her backhand was surprisingly dangerous. Viewers certainly got the feeling that, in terms of ball-striking and weight-of-shot, the Pole was in a different league.

I understand that Azarenka has the higher overall Elo rating and on hard courts but given that Swiatek clearly likes the conditions in Adelaide (as defending champion) and how well she has played so far in 2022, ripping through Fernandez in the manner she did, and showcasing near-peak controlled aggression.

It’s because of this that I lean toward Swiatek in the match. Azarenka will hit her share of baseline winners, but she will also spray too many unforced errors compared to her opponent.

Swiatek wins, although it won’t be easy.

Pick: Iga Swiatek (-125 via PointsBet)

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