Australian Open Women's Singles Day Nine: Kvitova value to upset Barty
We have two women's singles quarter-finals on the schedule tomorrow at the Australian Open, and Dan Weston thinks Ashleigh Barty may be going home...
Kenin simply the better player against Jabeur
Women's singles quarter-finals take the early spots at Melbourne Park on Tuesday with the first match between Sofia Kenin and Ons Jabeur scheduled for midnight UK time, with Ashleigh Barty's clash with Petra Kvitova - what I think is the tie of the round - taking place when the first match concludes (not before 130am UK time).
In the first match on the schedule, Kenin is a solid1.46 market favourite to get past Jabeur and this looks a few ticks big but nothing remotely worth actioning. Kenin is simply the better player by some distance based on 12 month hard court numbers, particularly on serve, where she has held around 9% more than Jabeur, as well as possessing a marginal return edge as well.
Jabeur has done superbly well to get to this stage, beating all of Caroline Wozniacki, Jo Konta and Qiang Wang as a pre-match underdog, but I think this is where the journey ends for the Tunisian. Not only is Kenin the better hard courter, but she also has better tournament data as well as winning both head-to-head matches in the last year, with Jabeur only winning 54% of service points in those two meetings.
Kvitova with impressive tournament data
Following this, we see home favourite Barty face Kvitova, with the Australian a1.77 market favourite to make the semi-finals at the time of writing.
Prior to the the tournament starting, I'd have had no problem with Barty being a slight favourite over Kvitova but interestingly, Kvitova has shown better tournament data so far and this has manifested itself into 12 month surface numbers as well, with the Czech left-hander having a slight edge.
Results of recent meetings a little deceiving
I think this makes the2.28 about Kvitova some reasonable value tomorrow - I'd have her as a marginal favourite - and it's also worth noting that Kvitova was a very slight favourite for their meeting in Beijing on hard court towards the end of the season. Barty was a similar price to tomorrow to defeat Kvitova in the WTA Championships in Shenzhen subsequently, but Kvitova wasn't in a good spot in that particular tournament and had already lost group matches to Naomi Osaka and Belinda Bencic.
While Barty has won their last three meetings in a topsy-turvy head-to-head series which saw Kvitova win their first four matches, it's worth noting that Kvitova had more break point chances than Barty in that loss in Beijing and also in her loss to the world number one in Miami in March. There's plenty to suggest that Kvitova's inability to take her chances cost her a win or two over Barty last season and that she was as good as her in those matches, at least.
With this in mind I'll go cautiously on Kvitova tomorrow to end Barty's tournament, and that's Tuesday's recommendation.