Simona Halep vs. Venus Williams
|Date & Time||Friday January 18, 2019, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Simona Halep and Venus Williams meet in the third round of the 2019 tennis Australian Open.
Simona Halep is coming off a three sets win over Sofia Kenin that took 32 games to decide. In the victory, Halep won 75 percent of her first serve points and 55 percent of her second serve points. Halep won 67 percent of her total service points and produced five breaks on 13 break points. Halep is finding ways to dig deep and win matches she probably loses a couple of years ago, but you have to question how much she has left in the tank. Halep missed a lot of time due to a back injury and has just three matches under her belt since September, so conditioning could be an issue. Halep hopes to make the fourth round of a grand slam for the eighth time in her last 12 appearances. Halep has lost five of her last seven matches on hard court.
Venus Williams is coming off a straight sets win over Alize Cornet that took 25 games to decide. In the victory, Venus won 69 percent of her first serve points and 43 percent of her second serve points. Venus won 59 percent of her total service points and saved 10 of her 13 break points. Venus has made things tougher than they had to be due to a high number of unforced errors, but the third set of her last match was easily the best set she’s played this tournament, so she has that to build off of. Venus hopes to make the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time since the 2017 US Open. Venus has been bounced before the fourth round of the Australian Open in five of her last seven appearances. Venus has won seven of her last nine matches on hard court.
These two have played five times and Venus has won three of those matches. The most recent match was in the 2018 Canadian Masters, a match Halep won in straight sets. Halep also won in the 2015 match in the Rome Masters, so Venus’ last win over Halep came in 2013 in Tokyo. Three of the five matches have been decided in straight sets.
Venus is worth a strong look here considering she finds ways to dig deep and grind out ugly victories. Halep also doesn’t have many reps under her belt and could have easily lost her match to Kenin if the American didn’t get nervous late. When it’s all said and done, Halep forces long rallies and makes her opponent play a ton of balls. Venus can often be an unforced error machine, so this isn’t a good matchup for her.
This match heavily favors Halep due to her defense and keeping balls in play. I’ll side with the Romanian over the American.