|Naomi Osaka||$2.10 at Bet365||Place Bet|
|Petra Kvitova||$1.76 at Sportsbet||Place Bet|
EITHER way, we will have a first-time champion in the women’s singles at the Australian Open.
Naomi Osaka is gunning for her second major title in a row after conquering Serena Williams at last year’s US Open.
If there were any doubts about the Japanese star’s credentials, she has put those to rest with her performances over the past fortnight.
Superior serving proved the difference in her 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win over Karolina Pliskova in the semis, where the 21-year-old blasted 15 aces and won 81 per cent of points on her first serve.
That was Osaka’s fourth consecutive victory over a seeded player, with only one of those matches – her quarter-final demolition of Elina Svitolina – completed in straight sets.
It is a very different story for Petra Kvitova.
The Czech is yet to drop a set and had not conceded more than five games in any of her matches until the semis.
That stat was nixed when Danielle Collins took her to a tiebreak on Thursday night, but Kvitova responded in emphatic fashion to win 7-6, 6-0.
The two-time Wimbledon champ has enjoyed a favourable draw, with Ashleigh Barty her only seeded opponent in a bracket that saw Caroline Garcia, Angelique Kerber, Jelena Ostapenko, Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sharapova, Sloane Stephens and Caroline Wozniacki all dumped before the quarters.
So while Kvitova has spent much less time on court than Osaka, there are questions as to whether she is as championship-ready as her fellow finalist.
2019 Australian Open results
SF – Karolina Pliskova 6-2 4-6 6-4
QF – Elina Svitolina 6-4 6-1
R4 – Anastasija Sevastova 4-6 6-3 6-4
R3 – Hsieh Su-wei 5-7 6-4 6-1
R2 – Tamara Zidansek 6-2 6-4
R1 – Magda Linette 6-4 6-2
SF – Danielle Collins 7-6 6-0
QF – Ashleigh Barty 6-1 6-4
R4 – Amanda Anisimova 6-2 6-1
R3 – Belinda Bencic 6-1 6-4
R2 – Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1 6-3
R1 – Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3 6-2
Naomi Osaka betting stats
- Osaka has served six aces or more in all six of her matches at the 2019 Australian Open
- She tops the competition with 50 aces for the tournament – nearly twice as many as Kvitova (26)
- Osaka ranks second for points won on first serve returns (114) and third against the second serve (64)
- She also leads the field for break points won with 28 in total
Petra Kvitova betting stats
- Kvitova has finished all six of her 2019 Australian Open matches in straight sets
- Not once has she conceded more than six games in a match
- Kvitova has won more points on her first serve (78%) than any other player who passed the first round
- The Czech has broken serve 25 times despite playing fewer than nine return games per match on average
Australian Open specials at Ladbrokes
Ladbrokes.com.au is running a pair of betting specials for the 2019 Australian Open women’s final:
Naomi Osaka to win the first game, first set and the match – $3.50
Petra Kvitova to win the first game, first set and the match – $2.75
The online bookmaker will also have exclusive Australian Open Bet Blast odds ready on Saturday, so keep an eye out for that.
Osaka vs. Kvitova match predictions
Last year’s final was a beauty and this matchup has all the hallmarks of another classic.
Osaka is young, powerful and always improving, while Kvitova has reached a level not seen since her comeback in 2017.
Both are dominant on serve, albeit for different reasons, but Naomi might have the edge on the return.
She has spent a lot more energy over the last two weeks, however, so it remains to be seen whether she is quite so sharp on Saturday night.
On the flip side, there are doubts about whether Kvitova is prepared for a real fight after such an easy run.
Can she maintain her intensity if it goes to three sets? Or will she crumble when the going gets tough?
It is tempting to take Osaka at odds, but Kvitova’s form and focus is such that it is hard to see anyone beating her right now.
Best bet: Kvitova -1.5 games handicap – $1.90 at Sportsbet
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