Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina meet in the Australian Open final
Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina meet in the Australian Open final

Tennis betting tips: Australian Open preview, bets and analysis


Andy Schooler previews Saturday’s Australian Open women’s final between Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka.

Tennis betting tips: Australian Open day 13

1pt Aryna Sabalenka to beat Elena Rybakina at 4/5 (General)

1pt Rybakina to serve the most double faults at 11/4 (BetVictor)

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Elena Rybakina v Aryna Sabalenka (0830 GMT)

It’s hard to argue that these two have not been the best two players at the tournament and Saturday’s final should be quite a spectacle.

Well, as long as power-hitting is your thing – there probably isn’t going to be lots of shot variety of show on the Rod Laver Arena.

These are two of the biggest hitters in the game, both on serve and off the ground, and the serve +1 shot looks likely to play a big part in deciding the outcome.

Rybakina’s serve has been excellent. She leads the tournament ace count (45 in six matches) but she’s had even more success when you look at unreturnable serves.

That said, she’s been far from unbreakable – in fact she’s lost serve 10 times so far, while Sabalenka has dropped her delivery on only six occasions.

Rybakina has lost only one set so far – against Danielle Collins in round three – and was the player who toppled top seed Iga Swiatek, as well as ending Victoria Azarenka’s fine run.

One factor certainly in her favour is experience.

She played – and won – a Grand Slam final at Wimbledon last summer, whereas Sabalenka will be experiencing this for the first time in her career.

However, the pair’s head-to-head may balance that out.

Sabalenka, who hits with more spin, has won all three previous meetings, two of them on hardcourts. All three have been decided in three sets.

While Rybakina has undoubtedly kicked on since their last meeting at Wimbledon 18 months ago, Sabalenka appears to have made significant improvements on the mental side of her game.

She spoke about her increased “belief” the other day and has also revealed how she opted to ditch using a sports psychologist, feeling she needed to take more responsibility.

The Belarusian has undoubtedly been more positive on court so far in 2023 – and she is yet to lose a set in 10 matches this season.

From what I’ve seen, I’ve been more impressed by Sabalenka and while I’ve long had reservations about her consistency, her efforts this month, helped by that improved attitude, suggest she may have finally found the formula required.

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A key takeout from those previous matches is the success Sabalenka has enjoyed on Rybakina’s second serve.

While first-serve points won in the rivalry is virtually equal (Rybakina leads 71% to 70%), Sabalenka has won 55% of points on her second serve, compared to 42% for Rybakina. That’s a significant difference.

We saw a prime example of how Sabalenka is prepared to be ultra-aggressive in key moments in her semi-final win when she played several returns inside the baseline during the crucial first-set tie-break.

Expect her to try something similar on Rybakina’s second serve in this match.

While still carrying some concerns about the effect nerves could have, I’m edging towards the favourite here at 4/5.

In the sub-markets, for those who like to follow trends, it’s 13/10 that this is another match in their head-to-head which goes to three sets.

It’s also interesting to note that 11 of the last 20 women’s singles finals at the Australian Open have gone to a decider.

However, I’m more interested in a couple of other bets.

Under 6.5 breaks of serve looks interesting at 8/13 (BetVictor) for those prepared to play at that price. Bet365 have the same price about under 5.5 breaks.

Under 5.5 has landed in two of the previous three meetings despite them going three sets, something which obviously may not occur here.

And I think it’s fair to say that both players have improved on serve since their last encounter, certainly Sabalenka has cut down on the double faults that have often plagued her in the past.

Finally, I think 11/4 about Rybakina serving the most double faults is a tad big.

She’s had more in two of the three previous meetings (five more in their last match at Wimbledon) with the overall count being 18-12.

While Sabalenka leads 22-13 over the last two weeks in Melbourne, that head-to-head is significant in this market.

As already suggested, Sabalenka is likely to put big pressure on the Rybakina second serve – and that’s the shot which is going to produce the double faults.

Of course, I don’t rule out Sabalenka feeling the pressure of her first Slam final and returning to something like her old ways but, at the price, I think it’s a bet worth chancing.

Posted at 1220 GMT on 27/01/23

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