We’ve arrived at the Australian Open final on the women’s side, and I can’t think of two players who have hit the ball harder than Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka.
The two women should combine for a very entertaining and captivating final with so much on the line. Sabalenka could cement her status as World No. 2 and line herself up to perhaps become No. 1 this season. She’s yet to win a Grand Slam despite dominating for much of her career, so it would be a long time coming.
Let’s take a look at how the match should shake out, along with my best free betting picks.
Australian Open Women's Final picks and predictions
Click on each prediction to read full analysis.
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Elena Rybakina vs Aryna Sabalenka odds and picks
|(22) Elena Rybakina||January 26, 3:30 a.m. ET||(5) Aryna Sabaleka|
|+1.5 (-115)||Game spread||-1.5 (-105)|
|Over 22.5 (-125)||Total games||Under 22.5 (+105)|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on January 27, 2023.
Rybakina vs Sabalenka match prediction
At this point in the tournament, it’s hard to say either woman hasn’t had to overcome some adversity to get here, and both have beaten some quality opponents.
I’d continue to stress the quality which Rybakina has overcome, and she’s dropped just one set all tournament. That was against last year’s finalist – Danielle Collins – in a physical and difficult match to come through. Then, she conquered World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, moved past the big-serving Jelena Ostapenko, and prevailed in a very difficult match against Victoria Azarenka.
The Azarenka match was a real test for Rybakina, considering she served under 50% in the first set. As arguably the best server on tour, that’s a very critical number. She was able to raise it above 70% in the second set, perhaps shaking off the nerves.
She’s won a Grand Slam before and dealt with plenty of pressure situations. That’s not something we can say about Sabalenka, who has consistently folded under pressure, and hasn’t exactly looked to be in control this week.
The Belarusian was broken in the first game of Wednesday’s win over Magda Linette, an opponent who came far closer to taking a set off of her than she really should have. In the quarters, she needed a disastrous serving performance by Donna Vekic to pull away, and wasn’t too convincing on her own serve all night.
This is someone who folded under the pressure late at the US Open, and has notoriously struggled with her nerves in big matches. I don’t think she can afford to go down a break with the way Rybakina serves, and I think this one could be decided by just a few critical games.
I’ll trust the 2022 Wimbledon champion here and take the plus money.
Prediction: Rybakina (+125 at BetRivers)
Rybakina vs Sabalenka best bet
I don’t think this one will be academic for Rybakina. The match will be played at night on Rod Laver, and Rybakina did speak after that win over Azarenka about the different conditions.
Unlike playing in the daytime, these balls aren’t flying off the court. Instead, it’s becoming a physical match, and with two players who bash the ball, that’s going to take some adjusting to.
I think both players are going to take their time feeling out the conditions as well as their opponent, and I think because of that, the best play is the Over. They’ve dropped just one set between the two of them at these championships.
Rybakina and Sabalenka have met four times (once at an exhibition), and the maximum three sets have been played in all four matches. With two big servers and plenty of nerves present, I think there will be a few twists and turns here, and many games played.
Best bet: Over 22.5 (-115 at DraftKings)