Australian Open Women's Singles Day Seven: Outright market confused between Gauff and Kenin

After another day of shocks in the women's singles at the Australian Open, fourth round action starts on Sunday morning in Melbourne. Dan Weston returns to preview the matches...

Pliskova the latest big name to be defeated

Following the numerous upsets on Friday in Australia, it was more of the same on Saturday morning as the third round concluded. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova's overturning of a one-sided head-to-head series against Karolina Pliskova was the notable surprise, but our remaining outright selection, Elise Mertens, progressed to a fourth-round meeting with Simona Halep after defeating CiCi Bellis.

Sakkari will need to take her chances

Matches start at 1am UK time on Sunday morning, with Petra Kvitova a solid 1.43 market favourite over Maria Sakkari in what is likely to be quite a serve-orientated match. Both players are relatively stronger on serve than they are on return - particularly Kvitova - and I think if Sakkari is to cause an upset here, she'll need to take her (probably rare) chances when they occur.
Interestingly, Sakkari has won their last two clashes and particularly in their meeting in Rome, which she won in the final set via Kvitova's retirement, she did take her chances - converting five from seven break point chances. Kvitova was 3 from 14 in that match.

Outright market confused by Gauff and Kenin

Following this, we see an all-American meeting with Cori Gauff facing Sofia Kenin, and it's a really interesting and rare scenario that we get to discuss here. Gauff is actually fifth outright favourite for the tournament, which doesn't look right to me, with Kenin slightly further back in the tournament winner market. However, Kenin is favourite for their actual match, with the older American player available at 1.70 on the Exchange at the time of writing.
Essentially, markets are saying that Kenin has a better chance to win this match but Gauff has a better chance if she wins than Kenin would in the later rounds. This approach from the markets makes zero sense in my view, with hard court data making Kenin the better player by a reasonable distance and therefore by definition better equipped to deal with opponents at the business end of the tournament.

Wang accurately priced for Jabeur clash

After her shock win over Serena Williams on Friday, Qiang Wang is a solid 1.52 favourite to make the quarter-finals as she faces Ons Jabeur, the conqueror of Caroline Wozniacki. As with all the matches today, I make the pre-match market pretty accurate, and there's no value in my opinion here or in any of the other matches either.

Barty heavy market favourite to get revenge over Riske

Finally Ashleigh Barty - tournament favourite after Williams' defeat - is the strongest market favourite for Sunday's matches as she faces Alison Riske in the night match. Although Barty is priced up at 1.27, she'll be aware of the threat posed by Riske, who from reports is an early adopter of detailed analytics and beat Barty as an even bigger underdog at Wimbledon last July. I expect another relatively serve-orientated match.

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