TennisSection previews the 2023 Australian Open as Aryna Sabalenka takes on Donna Vekic in the quarterfinal on Wednesday, January 25, 2023.
Aryna Sabalenka has lived up to the billing as one of the tournament favorites. But she will need to overturn her lopsided head-to-head record against Donna Vekic when they square off on Wednesday. Who will reach the Australian Open semifinals?
Could this be Aryna Sabalenka’s time? We’ve asked this question before, except that the answer has been an emphatic no. This time, however, Sabalenka looks primed to win her first Grand Slam title. The pre-tournament favorite Iga Swiatek is out of the reckoning as are the likes of Caroline Garcia and Jessica Pegula, who were touted as strong favorites too. But the Belarusian knows fondly not to take anything for granted at this stage with the depth of the women’s field still stronger than ever. After her terrific straight-sets win over Belinda Bencic, Sabalenka has laid down a marker. Can she put the brakes on this resurgent run by surprise quarterfinalist Donna Vekic?
Donna Vekic was 100/1 at the start of the tournament to win her first Grand Slam, which probably summed up her chances at this year’s Australian Open. But with upsets galore in the first week, the draw has opened up nicely for the Croatian star who seems to be enjoying her tennis again after years of injuries. Since surviving Russian qualifier Oksana Selekhmeteva in the first round, Vekic has looked in top gear in her run to the quarterfinals. Will she preserve her dominant record over Aryna Sabalenka?
Aryna Sabalenka, surprisingly, is 1-5 in the head-to-head against Donna Vekic. Regardless of Vekic’s form, this has been a nightmare matchup for Sabalenka who has lost their last two high-stakes match, first at the Tokyo Olympics and the San Diego quarterfinals in 2022. It’s also very surprising to see the Belarusian entering the match as an odds-on favorite. I think Vekic has a punter’s chance of at least making this as competitive as their last meeting on the hard courts on the Pacific coast. The Croatian strikes a bigger ball like Sabalenka and is very aggressive in her first return shot. This will be a lot closer than what the odds suggest and we reckon the games market might be a suitable selection as their most recent matches have gone the distance. And given Vekic’s near-perfect record against the fifth seed, it is not out of the realm of possibility she might upset Sabalenka again.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Donna Vekic in 3 sets
Free Value Bet: Over 20.5 games in the match
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