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2023 Australian Open Women’s Semifinal Picks & Predictions

by January 25, 2023
2023 Australian Open Women's Final Picks: Elena Rybakina vs. Aryna Sabalenka

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 quarter and earned her spot in her fourth career Grand Slam semifinal (first at the Australian Open).

While Sabalenka’s spot in the semifinals was expected, not many could argue they would have predicted the other three semifinalists. Victoria Azarenka is a former two-time Australian Open champion, but she has not won it since 2013 and had not made it past the quarterfinals in any year since then before this run. Elena Rybakina is also a Grand Slam champion, winning Wimbledon in 2022, but had yet to make it past the third round at the Australian Open before this year. Finally, the most surprising of the four is unseeded Magda Linette (the No. 45 ranked player in the world), who is playing in her first Grand Slam semifinal in her 30th career major.

Read on for our thoughts and predictions for the 2023 Women’s Australian Open semifinals.

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2023 Women’s Australian Open Semifinal Picks & Predictions

(odds via DraftKings)

Elena Rybakina vs. Victoria Azarenka Prediction

While Azarenka is the more seasoned player in Grand Slam experience (two titles, three finals, and three semifinals), just one of those accomplishments happened since 2013. Thus, Rybakina’s 2022 Wimbledon triumph is more prevalent to us entering this match, as the reasons for her success on the grass court are largely carrying over into this tournament.

Rybakina’s first-serve percentage has increased in every match so far this tournament and has become a weapon that few are built to deal with. She punctuated her best service performance with 11 aces in her quarterfinal match against Jelena Ostapenko and cruised to an easy 6-2, 6-4 victory. Those 11 aces were a tournament high, and while Azarenka has some of the best return of serve numbers on the WTA tour, Rybakina’s ability to keep her composure and rise up on the most stressful of points is encouraging entering this match, as she saved seven of eight break points.

While many will back Azarenka based on her 6-4, 6-1 dominance over Jessica Pegula, Rybakina’s straight-set victory over World No. 1 Iga Swiatek should not go unnoticed. Rybakina is 12-1 in her last 13 Grand Slam main draw matches and has covered the game spread in her previous five WTA main draw matches.

We have too much respect for Azarenka to lay the -225 moneyline odds with Rybakina, so taking her to win in three sets provides much better value.

Pick: Rybakina to Win in Three Sets (+320 on DraftKings)

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Magda Linette Prediction

Aryna Sabalenka is a heavy favorite (-525) in this match, and rightfully so, as she has cruised to five straight-set victories thus far and has lost more than four games in just one of ten sets. The most impressive thing about Sabalenka’s Australian Open run is that she has had five consecutive matches with a positive winner-to-unforced error differential. She forced Donna Vekic into 25 unforced errors in her last match. Still, Vekic was arguably the only player left in the field that could match Sabalenka’s power consistently from the baseline.

Linette’s run to this point is shocking, as she had never been past the third round in any of her previous 29 Grand Slam appearances and is ranked No. 45 in the world. However, no one should discredit her spot in the semifinals, as she beat four consecutive seeded players to get here and lost only one set (to Anett Kontaveit) in the process.

Despite Linette’s recent success, the head-to-head history between these two suggests this match could be over quickly. Sabalenka beat Linette 6-2, 6-1 at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo and 6-1, 6-3 at the 2018 Tianjin Open.

Sabalenka has been dominant on serve all tournament, winning 71% of her service points leading up to her quarterfinal match against Vekic, and she matched that with 70% of points won on her first serve and 71% on her second serve. Vekic did get a look at 14 break points (converted just two), but Sabalenka’s overall dominance in the match was impressive, considering she had lost five of six head-to-head meetings with Vekic coming into the match.

While Sabalenka’s moneyline odds are too steep, backing her to win in straight sets provides much better value.

Pick: Sabalenka to Win in Straight Sets (-165 on DraftKings)

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