Halep has had a fine start to her Aus Open campaign, winning her first three matches without dropping a set. Her return game has been on point all tournament, breaking 5 times in each of her three matches thus far.
Her opponent, Elise Mertens, is very accomplished for a #16 seed and has also had a good run to this point. She has dropped just 1 set all tournament, managing a bagel in each of her matches thus far.
That said, I like the look of Halep to win straight up here at $1.60. Her and Ash Barty are the clear two favourites in the women’s draw and I expect a professional performance here.
Mertens has had great success on break points in this tournament, which I’m not sure is sustainable against Halep. The former Darren Cahill protégé is serving much better of late, something which I expect to continue. If she can keep up her recent serving form, I expect her to advance to the Quarters here.
Despite entering this tournament unseeded, I think Muguruza has a great shot at unsettling the #9 seed here. She’s been great all tournament, including a decimation of #5 seed Svitolina last time out.
Bertens is yet to drop a set thus far, although this is a huge step up in opponent quality. She is averaging nearly 5 breaks of serve per match so far, something which is unlikely to continue against Muguruza.
The Spaniard has really found her serving rhythm of late, only getting broken 3 times in her last 6 sets. Her return game has also been on point, averaging nearly 5 breaks a game against some relatively good servers.
She has performed well at the Aus Open throughout her career and enters this clash with a solid 20-7 career record at Melbourne Park. Bertens hasn’t been nearly as good on hard court, actually having a 4-7 career record at this slam prior to 2020.
I’m expecting a close match here, but Muguruza’s improving serve and elite return ability give her the decisive edge.