There is truly no endurance test in sports quite like the Grand Slam tennis tournaments. Winning a championship requires winning seven matches in the span of two weeks against the top competition in the world.
The four women who reached the Australian Open semifinals are just two victories away from realizing this incredible accomplishment.
Based on the historical context of past Grand Slam performances, the two semifinal matches offer a stark contrast. In the first, Americans Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka hold a combined 26 Grand Slam titles between them. The second matchup features two competitors seeking their first major championship in American Jennifer Brady and the Czech Republic’s Karolina Muchova.
This article includes match odds, analysis, and betting picks to prep you for both Australian Open women’s semifinal matches.
Australian Open Women’s Semifinals Details
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021
Venue: Rod Laver Arena — Melbourne, AU
Start Time: 10 p.m. EST
Australian Open Women’s Semifinals Betting Odds and Picks
All odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
(3) Naomi Osaka vs. (10) Serena Williams
Moneyline: Osaka: (-167) | Williams: (+135)
Games Spread: Osaka: -1.5 (-134) | Williams: +1.5 (+108)
Total Games: 22.5 — Over: (-104) | Under: (-121)
There’s certainly plenty of star power in this first matchup. Williams’ list of accomplishments seemingly never ends. She now finds herself just two more wins away from capturing her first Grand Slam since giving birth to her first child in the fall of 2017. Her last major win came at the Australian Open in January that year.
While Williams managed to reach both the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals in 2018 and 2019, she came up short in all four matches.
On the flip side, Osaka is a perfect three for three in Grand Slam championship matches. One of her two U.S. Open finals wins came in the form of a straight-sets victory over Williams in 2018. At age 23, Osaka is arguably just getting started. Of course, it’s impossible to say Williams is “slowing down” at age 39.
Both players have played tremendous tennis in this year’s Australian Open. Neither has been pushed to a third set more than once in the entire tournament. Williams had to take down women seeded higher than her in each of the last two rounds. She managed to knock off Aryna Sabalenka in three sets in the fourth round before ousting second-seeded Simona Halep in the quarterfinals. Osaka survived a three-set, fourth-round match against Garbine Muguruza before dominating Hsieh Su-wei in the quarters.
The all-time series between Osaka and Williams is even at two matches apiece. The elder Williams has claimed the two most recent head-to-head meetings. Interestingly enough, only one of those matches extended to a third set. Both tend to quickly take care of their opponents, and the odds on total sets in this match are heavily in favor of Under 2.5 (-162). Whoever wins, I don’t see a third set happening in this match. With this in mind, I’ll look to avoid playing against either of these superstars and instead bet the total.
Best Bet: Under 22.5 Total Games (-121 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
(22) Jennifer Brady vs. (25) Karolina Muchova
Moneyline: Brady: (-182) | Muchova: (+148)
Games Spread: Brady: -3.5 (+108) | Muchova: +3.5 (-136)
Total Games: 21.5 — Over: (-118) | Under: (-106)
While the second semifinal matchup might not hold the same degree of Grand Slam lineage as the first, one can’t discount either player’s ability. Muchova has stolen the title of Aussie Open Cinderella after her shocking upset of top-seeded Ashleigh Barty in the quarterfinals. After losing the first set 6-1, Muchova incredibly managed to flip the script and take 12 of the next 17 games to win the match.
I’ll let the fans debate over the, shall we say, timely, medical timeout called. At any rate, this triumph came after Muchova defeated two other women seeded higher than her in Karolina Pliskova and Elise Mertens.
Brady also managed to rally from losing the first set of her quarterfinal match against fellow American and good friend Jessica Pegula. The latter was clearly exhausted in the second and third sets, and Brady took control. But to Brady’s credit, she didn’t let the first set loss ruin her psyche, as she often did earlier in her career. Brady has notably had fairly clear sailing through the tournament to this point. Her only prior seeded opponent was Donna Vekic, whom she dispatched in straight sets in the fourth round. This is Brady’s second appearance in a Grand Slam semifinal; she lost to Osaka in her previous trip at the 2020 U.S. Open.
Honestly, the two drastically different paths that Muchova and Brady have taken to get to this semifinal match could play a major role. While both players have only had one match go longer than three sets, Brady’s road has been much easier than her opponent’s. Brady was extremely sharp in the second and third sets of her quarterfinal win. She also has the edge of having been in the final four of a major championship once before, as opposed to this being the first time for Muchova.
Taking Brady on the match line may be the most solid bet, but I much prefer the plus-money value available on the spread. The fact that the price on laying 3.5 games differs from the odds of laying 2.5 games by a whopping 194 cents is ludicrous.
Best Bet: Jennifer Brady -3.5 Games (+108 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
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