US Open Women's Day 6 Tips: Pegula underdog value to get Tokyo revenge on Bencic

Saturday's action at the US Open sees the third round conclude, and after another women's singles winner for this column on Friday, Dan Weston returns to preview the day ahead...

Mertens wins as Osaka bows out

Elise Mertens gave us a good underdog winner on Friday night with a straight-set triumph over Ons Jabeur, although the main talking point from yesterday's action was Naomi Osaka losing to Leylah Fernandez and then announcing an indefinite break from the sport. That's one big name who has exited the event, but there's still plenty left in, and I'll run through a couple of them below.

Big Names

Ash Barty 1.12 v Shelby Rogers 8.60: Barty is a huge market favourite here but I'm unconvinced she should be priced this short against a very competent opponent in Rogers. The American has got the better of Madison Brengle and Sorana Cirstea in straight sets to get to this phase, and is very capable of giving Barty a decent test here. How much of a test is up for debate, but it will be interesting to find out - today's market price on Barty is notably shorter than their previous four meetings this year.

Pliskova should have too much for Tomljanovic

Karolina Pliskova 1.33 v Alja Tomljanovic 3.95: The Czech, Pliskova, is anticipated by the market to progress to round four and my model agrees, pricing her very slightly higher than the market line. On hard court this year, Pliskova has held 7% more and broken around 1% more as well, so there's a reasonable ability differential between the duo, and this is accurately reflected in the current pricing.

Potential Value

Belinda Bencic 1.81 vs Jessica Pegula 2.18: It's very rare for me to find Bencic any value, with the market generally over-rating her compared to my model. That dynamic again exists here, with Pegula being a pre-match underdog but my numbers indicating she should be favourite.

Pegula is a very strong hard courter, and was a very similar price to my model - around 1.70 - when she met Bencic at the Tokyo Olympics recently. Bencic did win that day, and now the prices aren't far from being reversed here, despite Pegula having performed well since that defeat.

I guess a lot of market expectation is on Bencic from her Olympics triumph, but she didn't face top ten opposition in that run and won four back to back three-setters, so it's probably fair to say that variance was on her side. I think Pegula can get revenge for that defeat in Tokyo today.

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