Only three of the top 16 seeds have made the Women’s Australian Open semi-finals. There have been upsets throughout the first week and a bit of 2019’s first Grand Slam.
Julia Gorges fell in the first round, Kiki Bertens was knocked out in the second round, and tenth seed Daria Kasatkina won just three games against Timea Bacsinszky in the first round.
Despite the disappointments, some of the sport’s biggest names remain in the last four, though only one of them has appeared at this stage of the Australian Open previously.
The semi-finals are beautifully poised. We delve into 888sport’s tennis betting tips ahead of the Australian Open 2019 final four.
Petra Kvitova vs Danielle Collins (Thursday, 3am)
Petra Kvitova is one of the four women that can take over as world number one on Monday. Kvitova was at her very best to see off home favourite Ashleigh Barty in the last eight, winning 6-1, 6-4.
The left-hander has only made the semi-finals at the Australian Open on one previous occasion, but she has been the most dominant player in the draw this year.
Kvitova is yet to drop a set in Melbourne. Her serve has been inconsistent this year, as she leads the WTA in double faults.
As ever, though, she has been dominant when her first serve goes in, winning over 74% of points. She has served well so far this tournament – her 6/25 to win the match is hard to look past if that continues in this match.
Collins has been another shock Grand Slam success story. The American had not won a Grand Slam match before this tournament, but she crushed Angelique Kerber in the fourth round after seeing off Caroline Garcia and Julia Gorges previously.
Collins is a fierce competitor. The world number 35 battles through rallies and will make Kvitova work for every single point. Despite Kvitova’s dominance so far, the 19/10 price on over 2.5 sets is an interesting bet.
The pair faced-off in Brisbane earlier this year, with Kvitova winning in three sets after two tie-breakers. At least one tie-breaker at 13/4 is good value.
Collins, like she has been all tournament, is the underdog going into this match. That will inspire her, if anything, but Kvitova should have too much for her.
TIP: Kvitova 2-1 Collins (Priced at 3/1 with 888sport)
Karolina Pliskova vs Naomi Osaka (Thursday, 4:30am)
Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova, like Kvitova, could both become world number one on Monday, depending on their results in the coming days.
Osaka had two difficult third and fourth round matches, beating Anastasija Sevastova and Hsieh Su-wei in two three-setters.
The US Open champion then cruised past Elina Svitolina in straight sets to make it into the semi-finals. Svitolina suffered with neck and shoulder problems, but Osaka took full advantage.
Having been atop the world sporting news after beating Serena Williams at the US Open, Osaka was one of the Australian Open pre-tournament favourites.
She has not been at her best so far, though the second set performance against Svitolina might be a sign she is peaking at the right time.
A rematch with Serena was on the cards for Osaka. Pliskova had other ideas, winning an epic against the 23-time Grand Slam singles winner.
This is only the third time Pliskova has made it to the last four of a Grand Slam. The last occasion was at Roland Garros back in 2017, though she made the quarter-finals of the US Open in 2017 and 2018.
Pliskova is one of the most aggressive players in the women’s game, boasting a powerful serve and booming groundstrokes.
Osaka can go toe-to-toe with Pliskova power-wise, but the 21-year-old will be looking to force longer rallies and push her opponent into a mistake. This is a great matchup – the 13/10 on a three-set match is a good price.
It’s a very tricky match to call. Osaka is still young but she has the more rounded game and that should just give her the edge to reach back-to-back Grand Slam finals.
TIP: Osaka to win (Priced at 4/5 with 888sport)
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*