Australian Open Women's Day Ten: Kontaveit can compete against Halep
Quarter-final action in the women's singles continues on Wednesday and Dan Weston returns with his thoughts on who will make the semi-finals...
Barty dominant on key points in Kvitova win
This tournament has been a little frustrating with a few losses for players in matches where they actually had plenty of chances, but were unable to take most of the key points, and Petra Kvitova continued that theme yesterday in her clash against Ashleigh Barty. The Czech went a woeful two from 12 on break points against the home favourite, Barty, who took four of her eight opportunities. The first set was particularly frustrating, given Barty held at *3-3 from 0-40 down and also held from 15-40 down at *5-5, with Kvitova also unable to take a set point in the tiebreak.
Unfortunately, that's the variance that sometimes manifests itself - particularly in matches where the players are anticipated to be fairly evenly matched - with many tennis matches being decided by tight margins, so we must dust ourselves down, and move on to Wednesday's quarter-finals, which start at around midnight UK time.
Kontaveit not without a chance against Halep
In the first, Anett Kontaveit meets Simona Halep, and I'm still relatively unconvinced by Halep as a top level player on hard court, with Halep's 12 month hard court service/return points won data only giving her around a 4% edge over Kontaveit. While she clearly should be favourite here, the 1.44 about the Romanian looks a little on the short side based on this ability differential.
Interestingly, if we go shorter term - for example the last six months - Kontaveit has better numbers than Halep, and she's also got better tournament data as well despite Halep not having dropped a set en route to this stage.
Tournament data also in favour of Kontaveit
Kontaveit has won a higher percentage of games, and won almost 5% more return points while Halep has won just over 1% more service points, so Kontaveit has certainly impressed here in her four matches so far, particularly in her meetings against higher calibre opposition in the previous two rounds.
So the only thing that I can see which makes Halep justify this price is her ranking and reputation, which holds little in the way of importance to me. It's not a huge lean, but Kontaveit might be a decent handicap option with the +4.5 game line looking a reasonable way to go - we should get around the 1.80 mark on this in the run-up to the match.
Muguruza a justified favourite to progress
Following this encounter, we see Garbine Muguruza take on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova with the Spaniard, Muguruza, a 1.59 favourite to make the semi-finals. I make this fairly accurate, with 12 month surface data giving Muguruza an edge roughly equivalent to this price.
Despite Pavlyuchenkova's impressive displays to get to this stage, I note that Muguruza has better overall tournament data in their four matches so far, winning very slightly more service points and 3% more return points, so again, these numbers lead me to consider Muguruza a slight favourite to take this.
The duo have met on five previous occasions, with Pavlyuchenkova struggling against Muguruza's serve, winning fewer than 35% of return points and 37% of games played, so the Russian will certainly need to make much more of an impact on return if she is to make her first Grand Slam semi-final - she has lost her previous five Grand Slam quarter-finals.
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