Elena Rybakina v Aryna Sabalenka
Australian Open Women’s Final
Saturday, January 28, 2023 (8.30am UK)
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park
Victory in this final would cap a dream start to 2023 for world number final Aryna Sabalenka, who is on a 10-match winning run without dropping a set.
The big-hitter from Belarus, playing under a neutral flag due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, has already secured a WTA title in Adelaide immediately before this grand slam.
Yes, she may have benefitted from some of the top seeds, such as Swiatek, Jabeur and Pegula, falling by the wayside at Melbourne Park, but there’s no denying she’s played some outstanding tennis.
She will come up against Kazakhstani Elena Rybakina, the world number 25 (22nd seed in this event), who has also been superb and already has a grand slam title under her belt, having won Wimbledon last year.
I’m going with the favourite here, with Sabalenka a best price of 4/5 with SBK to claim her maiden title.
Rybakina is not without power. Whereas Sabalenka is strong when it comes to her groundstrokes, Rybakina serves big and should dominate the Aces count.
After winning a tight first set on a tiebreak in yesterday’s semi-final with Victoria Azarenka, Rybakina brushed the former champion aside in the second set. It was identical for Sabalenka in her semi against Magda Linette.
That is part of the reason why I think this final will be pretty close.
Sabalenka has come through four tiebreakers in Melbourne and Adelaide, while Rybakina - world number one Iga Swiatek’s conqueror in the fourth round - has come through two this year and has played out several other 7-5 sets.
Bet365 are offering 11/8 on there to be over 0.5 tiebreakers in this match, which I think has every chance of landing.
Given I think it will be a close final, I would also be interested in the 10/3 William Hill have on Sabalenka to win this 2-1 and come through the challenge of losing her first set of the year.
Bet builder and Exacta centre around Sabalenka success
I tell you something, it would be Ace if these two bets landed.
Bet365 are offering a boosted 10/3 on a three-combination bet builder, which I believe is on the cards.
That is Aryna Sabalenka to win, there to be over 5.5 breaks of serve in the match, and five plus Aces will be served.
In the semi-finals, there were eight breaks of serve in Rybakina versus Azarenka and 12 Aces - nine of them served by our finalist - and four breaks of serve in Sabalenka versus Linette added to seven Aces. Six of those were served by our other finalist.
Just to finish off, SportingIndex have priced up the way I think the final could go at 15/2.
That would be for Sabalenka to win the first set, lose the second and bounce back to win the third.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.
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