US Open Women's Day 5 Tips: Mertens underdog value to get past Jabeur

The third round gets underway at the US Open today, with eight women's singles matches on the schedule. After a winner on day four, Dan Weston returns to give his thoughts...

Raducanu helps us to another women's winner

We picked up another US Open winner in what has been a strong women's tournament for us so far, with Emma Raducanu getting revenge over Shuai Zhang for her defeat in San Jose, in a result which was never in much doubt from the early stages. A relatively stress-free winner is always nice, and that was again the case for most players, with there being a continued theme of a high percentage of straight-set victories in the women's tournament so far.

These included wins for the likes of Ash Barty, while Karolina Pliskova and Iga Swiatek were one of those who did need three sets to get past their opponents, Amanda Anisimova and Fiona Ferro, respectively.

Even though there are only eight matches on today's schedule, there's still plenty to discuss, so as has been the case this week, we will start with some matches featuring high-profile players.

Big Names

Victoria Azarenka 2.00 v Garbine Muguruza 1.97 : Arguably the match of the day, featuring two multiple Grand Slam winners who many might suggest aren't quite at the level that they once were when they were at their peak.

Both players are yet to drop a set in the tournament, although have needed to win tiebreaks to obtain that 4-0 set record so far, and both haven't had the strongest record in recent tournaments coming into the event either. This probably goes some way to explaining why the market is finding it difficult to split the duo, and 12 month hard court service/return points won percentages also have the duo pretty evenly matched, with Muguruza better on serve and Azarenka better on return.

It will be a fascinating clash for the neutral with there being little between the two players, and a tough round four match for the winner is in prospect, assuming Barbora Krejcikova gets past Kamilla Rakhimova today.

Halep with slight edge over Rybakina

Elena Rybakina 2.06 v Simona Halep 1.91 : This is another fascinating match to discuss with Halep having more long-term pedigree but Rybakina with the exciting upside. Halep is the marginal favourite, and I agree with that, but I also think there's a case for her to be a little shorter than this as well.

Across the last 12 months on hard court, Halep does have a better record and has notably better stats on return, but both players came into the event with unspectacular recent records. The market might be holding back a bit on Halep given her leg injury issues, but she's got past decent opposition in Camila Giorgi so far, so assuming full fitness, Halep does look a few ticks too big here.

Potential Value

Elise Mertens 2.58 v Ons Jabeur 1.56: Just one today, and I'm a little torn subjectively with it, but we must trust the numbers I guess. Mertens is the underdog here and I'm unconvinced by the market pricing, given that her 12 month hard court numbers are slightly better than Jabeur's.

Jabeur, however, has played slightly the better tennis over the last few months, and that's where I see the influence being on the market. However, Mertens retains a high peak level and her recent losses have come against decent opposition, so I'm ok with trusting the longer-term numbers and considering her underdog price as being pretty big today.

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