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The Australian Open starts its semifinal round tomorrow. Tennis expert Mike Spector breaks down the Australian Open semifinal matches between Elena Rybakina vs. Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka vs. Magda Linette.
ANALYSIS

Australian Open Semifinal Predictions: Elena Rybakina vs. Victoria Azarenka, Aryna Sabalenka vs. Magda Linette

To say that the quartet of women still playing and entering the semifinals of the Australian Open is surprising is an understatement. There is a former two-time Australian Open champion (Victoria Azarenka) in the group, but she has not won it since 2013 and had not made it past the quarterfinals in any year since then before this run. Elena Rybakina is a Grand Slam champion (Wimbledon 2022) but had yet to make it past the third round at the Australian Open before this year. 

The other semifinal pits Aryna Sabalenka against unseeded Magda Linette, one of whom will reach their first-ever Grand Slam final.

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Elena Rybakina vs. Victoria Azarenka Prediction

Rybakina vs Azarenka Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: Thursday, January 26
  • Time: 3:30 am ET
  • Where to Watch: ESPN+

Click Here for Rybakina vs. Azarenka odds

While Azarenka is the more seasoned player in Grand Slam experience (two titles, three finals, and three semifinals), just one of those accomplishments happened since 2013. Thus, Rybakina's 2022 Wimbledon triumph is more prevalent to us entering this match, as the reasons for her success on the grass court are largely carrying over into this tournament.

Rybakina's first-serve percentage has increased in every match so far this tournament. She punctuated her best service performance with 11 aces in her quarterfinal match against Jelena Ostapenko and cruised to an easy 6-2, 6-4 victory. Those 11 aces were a tournament high, and while Azarenka has some of the best return of serve numbers on the WTA tour, Rybakina's ability to keep her composure and rise up on the most stressful of points is encouraging entering this match, as she saved seven of eight break points. 

While many will back Azarenka based on her 6-4, 6-1 dominance over Jessica Pegula, Rybakina's straight-set victory over World No. 1 Iga Swiatek should not go unnoticed. Rybakina is 12-1 in her last 13 Grand Slam main draw matches and has covered the game spread in her previous five WTA main draw matches. 

We have too much respect for Azarenka to lay the -225 moneyline odds with Rybakina, so taking her to win in three sets provides much better value.

Elena Rybakina vs. Victoria Azarenka Pick

PICK: Rybakina to win in three sets (+320) Bet $100 to collect $420 Get the best odds at DraftKings, click here to bet

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Magda Linette Prediction

Sabalenka vs Linette Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: Thursday, January 26
  • Time: 4:45 am ET
  • Where to Watch: ESPN+

Click Here for Sabalenka vs. Linette odds

Aryna Sabalenka is a heavy favorite (-525) in this match, and rightfully so, as she has cruised to five straight-set victories thus far and has lost more than four games in just one of ten sets. Linette's run to this point is shocking, as she had never been past the third round in any of her previous 29 Grand Slam appearances and is ranked No. 45 in the world. However, no one should discredit her spot in the semifinals, as she beat four consecutive seeded players to get here and lost only one set (to Anett Kontaveit) in the process. 

Despite Linette's recent success, the head-to-head history between these two suggests this match could be over quickly. Sabalenka beat Linette 6-2, 6-1 at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo and 6-1, 6-3 at the 2018 Tianjin Open. 

Sabalenka has been dominant on serve all tournament, winning 71% of her service points leading up to her quarterfinal match against Donna Vekic, and she matched that with 70% of points won on her first serve and 71% on her second serve. Vekic did get a look at 14 break points (converted just two), but Sabalenka's overall dominance in the match was impressive, considering she had lost five of six head-to-head meetings with Vekic coming into the match.

While Sabalenka's moneyline odds are too steep, backing her to win in straight sets provides much better value.

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Magda Linette Pick

PICK: Sabalenka to win in straight sets (-165) Bet $100 to collect $160 Get the best odds at DraftKings, click here to bet

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Article Author

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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