Entering the Australian Open, No. 5 seed Aryna Sabalenka had the second-best odds to win the tournament, behind World No. 1 Iga Swiatek. Thus, it is no surprise that she won her first Grand Slam semifinal match (she had been 0-3) and has a chance to capture her first career major title.
Sabalenka faces No. 22 seed Elena Rybakina, though Rybakina’s underseeding bears mentioning. She did not earn any ranking points after her first Grand Slam victory at Wimbledon last year (the tour stripped the event of points in response to its ban on Russian and Belarusian players). Nonetheless, Rybakina will find herself in the top ten in the rankings come Monday after she tries to secure her second major title in the last three Slams.
Read on for our thoughts and predictions for the 2023 Women’s Australian Open finals.
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2023 Women’s Australian Open Final Picks & Predictions
(odds via DraftKings)
Elena Rybakina vs. Aryna Sabalenka Prediction
Based on Sabalenka’s pre-tournament odds (+750) compared to Rybakina’s (+2200), one would assume that the No. 5 seed is a heavy favorite entering this match. That would be especially true when Sabalenka is 10-0 with ten straight-set victories in 2023 and owns a 3-0 head-to-head advantage over Rybakina. However, the near coin-flip moneyline odds suggest that oddsmakers are impressed with Rybakina’s play of late, and we are willing to side with them while also citing the fact that Rybakina has invaluable Grand Slam finals experience that Sabalenka does not.
The path that Rybakina had to navigate to reach this point is remarkable, beating three former Grand Slam winners (No. 1 Swiatek, No. 17 Jelena Ostapenko, and No. 24 Victoria Azarenka) and 2022 Australian Open runner-up Danielle Collins in four consecutive matches.
Sabalenka has a power advantage over most of her opponents on tour. Still, Rybakina is also known for her powerful groundstrokes, even if her ball tends to be flatter and has less spin than Sabalenka’s.
Sabalenka has been broken just six times throughout this tournament. Still, Rybakina’s serve has been an equally dominant weapon, even if she gives more opponents looks at break points (25 through six matches). Rybakina served 26 aces in the previous three matches (including a tournament-high 11 in the quarterfinals against Ostapenko), and 36% of her first serves against the No. 1 player in the world went unreturned.
Rybakina is 13-1 in her last 14 Grand Slam matches, and has covered the game spread in ten of the previous 11. She is a live underdog in this matchup, and the best value is backing her to win outright.
Pick: Rybakina to beat Sabalenka (+120 on DraftKings)
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