WTA Miami Open Final Odds & Pick: Don’t Count Osaka Out Against Swiatek (April 2)
TPN/Getty. Pictured: Naomi Osaka hits a backhand at the Miami Open.
- New World Number One Iga Swiatek is a -195 favorite against Naomi Osaka today in the Miami Open Final.
- Tennis analyst David Gertler looks at the matchup, and discusses why he sees value on the underdog.
- Read on for his thoughts on the blockbuster matchup below.
Naomi Osaka vs. Iga Swiatek
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.|
Saturday’s Miami Open final features some of the biggest names in the game as Naomi Osaka takes on Iga Swiatek.
Osaka survived a tough challenge from Belinda Bencic to reach the final. She recovered from a slow start to beat Bencic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
This was a tough match for Osaka, as Bencic did a great job of taking Osaka’s powerful groundstrokes and using that power against Osaka. However, Osaka was able to problem solve and eventually was able to hit through Bencic from the baseline.
Osaka won 79% of her first-serve points against the Swiss and was only broken twice after the first set. In every match this week, Osaka has won at least 70% of her first serves.
The four-time Slam champion did a great job of hitting her targets with the first serve as she hit 18 aces in the match. However, even if Osaka didn’t hit an ace (or unreturned serve) with her first serve, when she got her first serve into play, she was immediately in the driver’s seat for the point.
Unfortunately for Osaka, her second serve was a problem. As had been the case all week, Osaka’s second serve was sitting up in the service box and lacked placement. Bencic was the best out of all of Osaka’s opponents in Miami of exploiting this weakness, as she won 62% of Osaka’s second serve points.
On return, Osaka won 59% of Bencic’s second serve points and broke Bencic’s serve four times in the last two sets. Osaka is very aggressive with her return, putting opponents immediately on the defensive in points. Her baseline game, while shaky at times against Bencic, has overall been very good this week. She’s playing with a high level of controlled aggression and is not overhitting very often.
While Osaka was fortunate that Karolina Muchova retired in the first round and Danielle Collins was injured in their quarterfinal match, she has beaten tough opposition such as Bencic and Angelique Kerber to reach the final.
Swiatek won her 16th match in a row in the semifinals against Jessica Pegula. he survived a tough second set to win 6-2, 7-5 over the American.
The Pole won 70% of her first-serve points, putting 67% of her first serves into play. This first serve percentage was important, as Swiatek was only able to win 39% of her second-serve points. Like with Osaka, her second serve is an area where it hadn’t hurt her too badly up until her most recent match, and she will need to improve on this aspect of her game for the final.
On return, Swiatek won 53% of her return points, including 67% of her second-serve return points. With the exception of her win against Madison Brengle, where Brengle only attempted nine second serves, none of Swiatek’s opponents this week have won 45% or more of their second serve points.
Swiatek’s first serve has been strong this tournament and she has a very complete baseline game. Swiatek moves around the court extremely well and does a great job utilizing her forehand to take control of the baseline and direct play.
The new world No. 1’s backhand, which has been seen as a (relatively) weaker shot in the past, is holding up well. In fact, it’s become a weapon that Swiatek can use to hurt her opponents.
If Swiatek wins this match, it will be her third tournament victory in a row. Swiatek had already won Doha and Indian Wells coming into this event. While Swiatek will be confident, there is also some added pressure and potentially some fatigue, given that there is not much of a break between Indian Wells and Miami.
This is a fascinating matchup between two terrific players. Both are potent behind first serve and will need to improve their second serves coming into this match.
Swiatek hasn’t done very well against players who hit the type of massive groundstrokes that Osaka can produce. At the Australian Open, she barely beat Kaia Kanepi and then lost in straight sets to Danielle Collins.
In Dubai, Swiatek fell in three sets to Jelena Ostapenko. Even in Miami, she looked vulnerable at times against Petra Kvitova.
Swiatek likes to control the baseline and be the one commanding points, but against Osaka that’s not going to be the case. For large periods of the match, Osaka will hit huge serves, take command of the baseline from both wings and push Swiatek around.
Now, given Swiatek’s counterpunching and foot speed, that doesn’t mean she will collapse, but the match won’t be played on her terms nearly as much as it was against someone like Pegula.
At 3.5 games, this line feels disrespectful to Osaka. While Osaka has not had as much recent success as Swiatek, when she is at her best she can overwhelm Swiatek with her game.
Pick: Osaka +3.5 games (-122 at PointsBet)