Australian Open Women's Day Five Tips: Anisimova could be a real test for Osaka

We have day five action at the Australian Open ahead on Friday with the start of the third round as the tournament continues. Dan Weston is back to give his thoughts on the schedule...

Tauson shocks Kontaveit in straight sets

Clara Tauson gave us a nice Thursday winner against Anett Kontaveit, not just covering the game handicap lines but beating Anett Kontaveit in straight sets. This accurately illustrates Tauson's potential which I've written about on numerous occasions in the past, and the Danish teenager is now into the 12th favourite for the title at 38.0 on the Exchange.

Barty expected to defeat Giorgi

Still leading the outright market is Ash Barty who faces Camila Giorgi tomorrow, and Barty is now one match away from facing the pre-tournament second favourite Naomi Osaka in round four in what would surely be an epic clash. While Barty is an overwhelming favourite to defeat the Italian, Osaka is bigger at 1.38 for her match with the American prospect, Amanda Anisimova, who we got an underdog win out of on Wednesday against Belinda Bencic.

Anisimova should keep it close against Osaka

Anisimova is now seven unbeaten this season after that win over Bencic and could be a real test for Osaka, who had injury problems towards the back end of last season and withdrew from the Melbourne warm-up event as well several weeks ago.

We should get around 1.80 on Anisimova receiving a 4.5 game head start on the game handicap and this looks very attainable for a player of her quality.

This was the only spot I really liked for Friday's schedule, with pretty much all matches featuring very strong favourites. There's probably a case to be made for the high potential Marta Kostyuk + games against Paula Badosa but the Spaniard, Badosa, is on a seven match unbeaten run herself winning in Sydney last week and handing out two bagels in the opening two rounds against Ajla Tomljanovic and Martina Trevisan.

Svitolina perhaps priced too big for Azarenka clash

Elina Svitolina has suffered some very short-priced losses of late and that probably goes some of the way to explaining why she is 3.55 for her meeting with Victoria Azarenka, who has also won all four of their previous meetings. I make Azarenka the favourite, for sure, but I do think that Svitolina's price is too big here. When they met on hard court in Doha last March, Svitolina was 2.10 so this is quite a bit of a departure from that market pricing.

Keys short-priced for Wang meeting

Finally, the market now has Madison Keys onside after winning the warm-up event in Adelaide and picking up two wins here, with the victory over Sofia Kenin the more notable. However, opponent Qiang Wang is showing signs of getting back towards her previous levels which saw her on the verge of the top 10 and shouldn't be a pushover for the big-serving American.

Again, I make Keys a solid favourite here but the the 1.23 about Keys looks pretty short, particularly given her injury history, and having played a lot of matches over the last week and a half. This is a pretty intriguing clash with the level of the two players potentially pretty variable, and I'm not sure I'd be the most comfortable with a big position on Keys.

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