It’s the first of two Semifinal days at the US Open, with the remaining four on the women’s side taking center stage on Arthur Ashe. We’ve got the possibility for an all-American final, or an Osaka-Serena rematch. With all that said, let’s run through the two matches and see which bets have the most value on DraftKings Sportsbook.
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Brady +1.5 Sets (-125), Brady -0.5 Aces (+115), Brady ML (+210)
Look, this is supposed to be where the most value lies, yes? Well, Brady is more than capable of winning this match; I’d make this line closer than +210.
You could make the argument that Brady’s faced a tougher draw than Osaka (at the very least it’s even), yet Osaka is the one who’s dropped two sets, while Brady has been perfect. Part of that reason is her big serve and her power, which is something Osaka really hasn’t seen yet. The former US Open champion did dominate her toughest opponent in Kontaveit, but she is more of a counter-puncher and will only redirect the power coming her way.
Brady has relied much more on her serve than Osaka to this point, who has been putting opponents away with her serve-plus-one, and she also comes into this match with two more aces than Naomi. That’s why I think there’s tremendous value in her to have more aces at plus-odds. In that match against Kontaveit, Osaka saved eight break points, but hit just four aces, meaning she was making lots of serves — and lots of serves in big spots — which would generally lead to more aces. Brady should be as-good in return games, so I don’t expect a lot of aces from Osaka, and think Brady will continue to be dominant on serve.
With the serving out of the way, I really do see this as a competitive match. To this point, Osaka has blown groundstrokes right through her opponents with power, and will finally match up with someone who can hit as hard as her. It could take her some time to get in rhythm, if she does so at all. At the wonderful price of -125, Brady to take a set is a no-brainer. I’m also sprinkling a little bit on this juicy moneyline, because in a match that’s winnable for the rising American, you have to.
For whatever it’s worth, these two have met twice, with Brady taking their only encounter on a hardcourt, way back in a 2014 ITF tournament. Osaka was just 17, and Brady 18.
Azarenka ML (-157)
Well, we just keep on waiting for Azarenka to cool down and it simply isn’t happening. The champion at “Cincinnati” two weeks ago (played in New York) keeps painting lines and mowing down the competition, most recently making masterful ground-stroker Elise Mertens look like an amateur. The former World No. 1 worked Mertens around the court, and showed no signs of fatigue, making quick work of the 18th-ranked Belgian in just 73 minutes.
On the other hand, Serena Williams showed all the signs of fatigue, battling tooth and nail to get past Tsvetana Pironkova in a marathon three-setter which went two hours and twelve minutes. She came up with clutch forehand winners when she needed to, but was definitely helped out by fatigue and errors from Pironkova’s side, as well. Simply put, I do not think a better opponent would have let Williams back into the match after taking the first set, and certainly would not have given her some of the opportunities Prionkova did. One of the key points of the match — which was heralded by announcers — came after Pironokova missed a simple volley at the net, and Serena’s break, which won her the second, came when Pironkova tired and went for a weak drop shot to end the point which went into the net.
Azarenka has been pouring in the winners and dominating at the US Open, while it’s felt like Williams is flirting with an exit for a few matches now, playing three sets in all of them. Azarenka is seven years younger than Serena, coming off a match which took around an hour, and might be playing the best tennis of the four women left. When you factor all that in, the decision to bet on Azarenka here is easy, and she should be a heavier favorite. You’re getting a discount because of Serena Williams’ name.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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