IT'S been a bit of a week so far at the Australian Open and on Friday our bet that was looking the easiest winner of the tournament on under games in the men’s semi-final between Roger Federer and Hyeon Chung was voided when the latter retired in set two.

All of which makes this week’s bets: two voids, two losses by a single point each and an impaired effort from Kyle Edmund due to a hip injury. How’s your luck?

Conditions

It’s set to be a hot day in Melbourne on Saturday, with temperatures in the mid-30s in the shade and it’s forecast to still be 30C by the time the ladies final takes place from 19:30 local time (08:30 UK).

Simona Halep vs Caroline Wozniacki

It had to happen that probably the only way that one of these two nervy characters were likely to win a Slam was to face one another in the final and that’s precisely what’s happened – just about.

There can’t have been too many Grand Slam finals in the history of tennis that have been contested between a number one and two seed who’ve both saved match points just to get to the second week and in Halep’s case gone on to save more in week two.

Both players were trading at prices of around the 100-1 mark to win the tournament outright fort a short spell during that opening week of the tournament, so it’s not exactly been a comfortable ride for either player so far in Melbourne.

Wozniacki should have been out in round two when she was 5-1 down in the deciding set to Jana Fett, who proceeded to lose the next six games in a match that Caro had no right to win if we’re being honest.

And Halep won’t forget this tournament for a long time either after rolling her ankle in round one and then coming out on top 15-13 in a final set against Lauren Davis in almost four hours in round three.

Then there was the thriller against Angelique Kerber, where Halep was two match points down on Kerber’s serve before eventually coming through that one, while Caro tried her best to choke her second set against Elise Mertens.

So, this should be an interesting final and one that’s likely to turn out to be a great scenario for in-play punters if it’s close in the latter stages.

Of the final, Halep said: “Emotions are there. Pressures are there for both of us. We'll see what is gonna happen.”

Indeed. There are so many unknowns in this match-up that it would be one of the better all-time picks of Nostradamus if he nailed this one.

How is Halep physically on that injured ankle and some lengthy battles on it this week and a very tough semi final?

How is Halep mentally after blowing a big lead in the French Open final last season and other notable Grand Slam failures, such as the tame loss to Flavia Pennetta in the US Open semi a few years back?

How will Wozniacki’s nerve stand up if she has to serve this out after all the years of being labelled as a fake number one with no Grand Slams on her CV?

The Dane hasn’t had much of a chance in her major finals so far, being outclassed by Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams, and while there’s much to admire about how she’s gone about her business and battled back to the top I remain unconvinced by her at the very top level.

What an irony it would be if Wozniacki were to now win a maiden major and return to the world number one spot at the same time, but just thinking about the nerves that’ll be on display here almost makes me start to feel nervous for the pair of them.

Let’s look at the career match-up between them instead and we see that it’s 4-2 to Wozniacki, with the Dane winning the last three and their head-to-head series has been a little peculiar.

Wozniacki easily beat a fatigued and out of sorts Halep indoors in Singapore at the end of last season as a slight underdog (the role she assumes again on Saturday) and she also beat Halep on clay, which you wouldn’t expect.

The Dane also beat Halep on grass last season, in a match that Caro was slight favourite for, and you’d perhaps expect that, but you’d have to give a slight advantage to Wozniacki on their career series, with Halep’s two wins on outdoor hard coming in 2013 and 2015.

One thing that stands out is that the pair have never played a tie break against each other in 15 sets and that’s to be expected with a pair of return-oriented players such as these two.

Indeed, Halep has held serve only 55.2% of the time against Wozniacki in their career series and the Dane has only held 64.2% of the time in those matches, so plenty of breaks of serve look likely, despite Caro’s stats this tournament.

Some of the numbers that Wozniacki has compiled this fortnight look pretty unsustainable, taking 71% of her break point chances (her career average is 49.5% on outdoor hard at main level) and saving 65% of the break points against her (career average 59%).

Only three players since 1993 have won the opening set of the women’s final and gone on to lose the match (Martina Hingis, Lindsey Davenport and Li Na twice) but it wouldn’t be surprising in the least if it happened again here, with a real up and down battle likely.

Unless Halep isn’t fit it’ll surely be a match of fluctuating fortunes and the over 2.5 sets at 2.35 looks better value than risking either of this pair in the match odds.

Best bet

  • Over 2.5 sets (27-20, Unibet)
1 Comment
  1. florescum 4 years ago

    Halep – Wozniacki handicap games +3,5 Wozniacki

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