Jan 15, 2020
Jan 15, 2020

Australian Open 2020: WTA Singles Tournament preview

Australian Open Women's Singles preview and predictions

Australian Open odds analysed

Who are the favourites and outsiders?

Key Australian Open stats

Australian Open 2020: WTA Singles Tournament preview

As is often the case, the Women’s Singles Tournament at this year’s Australian Open promises to be very competitive. Dan Weston looks at the main market contenders for the title, as well as other factors betters can consider to try and find value in the odds. Read on to find out what the stats suggest and inform your Australian Open Women’s Singles Tournament predictions.

Weather and environmental impacts

As mentioned in the preview for the Men’s Singles tournament, the build-up to the Women’s tournament has been beset by breathing difficulties that players have suffered during the qualifiers as a result of the ongoing bushfires.

Dalila Jakupovic was even forced to retire from her match against Stefanie Voegele when close to winning the second set, withdrawing with the scoreline at 4-6 6-5.

The predicted cooler than normal weather, also covered in the Men’s preview, could prompt some further unforeseen environmental impacts for the tournament.

Who is favourite and why?

Illustrating the open nature of women’s Grand Slam tournaments, only two players won the Australian Open more than once during the last decade: Serena Williams in 2010, 2015 and 2017 and Victoria Azarenka in 2012 and 2013. Across those ten tournaments, 13 different players also competed in the final, a considerably bigger turnout than the six who did so in the Men’s tournament.

The broad range of potential winners is also demonstrated when studying the hard court data for players priced at 50.00 or below. All but five of the 20 priced in this range have recorded between 103% and 107% combined service and return points won during the last year on hard courts.

It is therefore unsurprising that top players on the WTA Tour routinely beat each other when there is so little to split them.

The data for the contenders priced at 50.00 or below, sorted by their 12 month combined hard court service and return points won percentage, is detailed here:

WTA 2019 performance data

Player

12-month hard court service points won (%)

12-month hard court return points won (%)

12-month hard court combined points won (%)

6-month all-surface service points won (%)

6-month all-surface return points won (%)

6-month all-surface combined points won (%)

vs. Top 20 (last 12 months)

Serena Williams

64.7%

47.5%

112.2%

66.4%

47.7%

114.1%

5-4

Petra Kvitoka

63.2%

43.7%

106.9%

62.1%

42.4%

104.5%

6-8

Naomi Osaka

63.8%

42.9%

106.7%

64.6%

42.5%

107.1%

6-6

Marketa Vondrousova

58.5%

48.1%

106.6%

N/A

N/A

N/A

7-3

Ashleigh Barty

63.4%

42.9%

106.3%

63.7%

40.8%

104.5%

16-6

Karolina Pliskova

62.5%

43.8%

106.3%

61.7%

43.5%

105.2%

10-5

Madison Keys

61.7%

44.1%

105.8%

62.0%

43.2%

105.2%

6-5

Aryna Sabalenka

61.1%

44.1%

105.2%

61.9%

43.3%

105.2%

5-4

Simona Halep

58.4%

46.2%

104.6%

54.8%

45.7%

100.5%

9-6

Elise Mertens

58.3%

45.6%

103.9%

61.3%

45.4%

106.7%

5-11

Elina Svitolina

58.5%

44.7%

103.2%

59.0%

44.2%

103.2%

12-6

Angelique Kerber

57.5%

45.7%

103.2%

54.6%

44.8%

99.4%

4-4

Belinda Bencic

58.6%

44.6%

103.2%

60.0%

42.6%

102.6%

12-8

Amanda Anisimova

56.7%

46.5%

103.2%

53.3%

47.9%

101.2%

2-6

Sofia Kenin

59.7%

43.3%

103.0%

60.9%

42.5%

103.4%

10-12

Garbine Muguruza

58.3%

44.7%

103.0%

58.2%

42.8%

101.0%

3-5

Johanna Konta

60.7%

42.0%

102.7%

60.5%

43.2%

103.7%

7-5

Kiki Bertens

61.4%

40.9%

102.3%

60.2%

41.6%

101.8%

11-9

Cori Gauff

52.9%

44.6%

97.5%

56.4%

43.9%

100.3%

1-3

Sloane Stephens

54.2%

42.3%

96.5%

52.4%

40.7%

93.1%

1-4

As can be seen above, there remains one outstanding player in the women’s game – Serena Williams. With US Open champion Bianca Andreescu currently injured, the 38-year-old still produces numbers which are streets ahead of the competition, and also enters the tournament having also won the warm-up event in Auckland last week.

She’s the strong market favourite at 3.85*, which is completely understandable considering the data.

Assessing the other challengers

When most of the remaining contenders at the top of the market are so closely matched based on their medium-term hard court data, it is worth assessing several other areas in order to try and ascertain which players may be overrated or underrated by their odds.

World number one Ashleigh Barty is third favourite at 7.80*.

A couple of examples are 6-month all-surface data, which looks at slightly more recent performances while still achieving a reasonable sample size, and another is taking a look at recent performances against top 20 opposition.

While non-elite men’s players will often need to beat three top 10 players in order to lift the trophy, this isn’t usually the case in women’s Grand Slams. This means we can look at top 20 performances instead in order to gauge which players could potentially step up to compete effectively against stronger opposition.

Ashleigh Barty leads the way in this area and the Australian, who will undoubtedly receive a great deal of home support in her pursuit of the title, is priced as third favourite at 7.80*.

The current world number one will also want to get some more competitive court time this week in Adelaide, after surprisingly losing her opening match of the year to qualifier Jennifer Brady in Brisbane.

Notable outsiders

Other players with good records against top 20 opposition include Karolina Pliskova (13.48*), Elina Svitolina (14.79*) and Marketa Vondrousouva (30.96*). World number two Pliskova has solid hard court numbers and decent 12-month figures that should be respected, but Svitolina’s numbers are less impressive and she was thrashed by Danielle Collins in her only outing so far this season.

The data makes less of a case for the likes of Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber.

Vondrousova’s numbers are credible and better than a lot of players who are shorter in the market, but it is worth noting that the Czech left-hander cut her 2019 season short at the start of July and has only played one match since, a routine win over Tatjana Maria in Adelaide.

Of the remaining players in the field, those who make the best statistical case for being towards the top of the market include defending champion Naomi Osaka (7.75*), Petra Kvitova (15.95*), Aryna Sabalenka (18.04*) and Madison Keys (20.17*). Elise Mertens (46.59*) has shown rapid improvement across the last six months as well and could represent a reasonable long-shot option.

For various reasons, the data makes less of a case for the likes of Simona Halep (9.23*), who hasn’t produced good service numbers during the last six months, nor 2016 winner Angelique Kerber, whose record in the same period isn’t impressive either.

In addition, the American duo of Sloane Stephens (27.37*) and Cori Gauff (40.53*) look questionably priced by the market, with Stephens exhibiting poor medium-term and shorter-term levels. While Gauff is getting better, it would take vast further improvement for her to reach the latter stages of a Grand Slam event.

You can also read Dan’s preview of this year’s Australian Open Men’s Singles Tournament.

Odds subject to change

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