It’s the final four here at the Australian Open, and it has been absolute carnage on the women’s side of the draw. The last four women standing consist of the sixth seed, Sabalenka, the 22nd seed, Rybakina, the 24th seed, Azarenka, and unseeded player, Linette.
With so much to play for, who will rise to the challenge, and who will crack under the pressure? Both matchups are set to be a cracker and you don’t want to miss this, as a spot in the Final is up for grabs.
Enjoy our free tennis picks and predictions for each round at the Australian Open for the 2023 season.
Elena Rybakina (22) vs Victoria Azarenka (24)
A spot in the biggest stage of all is up for grabs today, and either Elena Rybakina or Victoria Azarenka will be able to fight it out for the 2023 Australian Open championship. Rybakina had a fairly difficult path to the Semifinals, but she has successfully knocked out Collins, Świątek and Ostapenko. Azarenka is playing just as good as she did 10 years ago when she won back-to-back Australian Open titles, and in the Quarterfinals she put up a clinic against the third seed, Pegula.
Elena Rybakina has been simply mesmerizing in the Australian Open. The Kazakhstanian superstar has lost only one set in this tournament, and her performances have been out of this world. She keeps her unforced errors at a minimum, and she can’t seem to misplace an attack. Rybaina’s power attacks broke down the defense of every opponent she has matched against so far, and if she keeps her current form, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her lift the trophy. She already kicked out the favorite Iga Swiatek in quite an easy fashion.
Victoria Azarenka deservedly finds herself in the Semifinals as well. Beating one of the remaining favorites to win the Australian Open, Pegula, in the Quarterfinals, Azarenka has quickly become one of the crowd favorites. The Belarusian star plays a similar style of tennis as her opponent on the day. They are both aggressive attacking players, who love to be on the front foot and put pressure on their opponent. We should expect to see exciting attacking tennis with long rallies. Rybakina and Azarenka have matched up against each other only once, with Rybakina winning two sets to nil. I believe that trend will continue, and I am picking Rybakina as the winner.
Aleksandar’s Australian Open Pick:
Match Winner – Rybakina (-210)
The two remaining Grand Slam winners in the women’s draw will face each other in the first Semifinal. Azarenka, who has won the titles in Melbourne in 2012 and 2013, will come up against Elena Rybakina, the 2022 Wimbledon champion. We all saw a vintage version of Victoria Azarenka in her Quarterfinal match against the top favorite, Jessica Pegula. She completely dismantled the world number 3 in straight sets as she was able to keep her composure throughout the entire match. The Belarusian, however, gave her fans mini heart attacks in her meeting with Lin Zhu which raised some flags ahead of the Semifinal clash with Rybakina.
Rybakina, on the other hand, proved to us that Iga Swiatek is indeed beatable in Grand Slams after whitewashing her in the Round of 16. Ever since then, the Kazakhstani player increased her work rate on the court and gave no chance to Jelena Ostapenko in the following match. Rybakina will surely rely on her serve against Azarenka, as she sent 11 aces in Ostapenko’s way. Her aggressive playing style was once again on point in her meeting with Swiatek and in her victory over Danielle Collins. Rybakina will have the age factor on her side as she is 10 years younger than her opponent. Hence, I will recommend backing her to win in straight sets against Azarenka.
Denis’ Australian Open Pick:
Set Betting – Rybakina 2-0 (+110)
Two Grand Slam champions meet in the first of our Semifinal previews as the reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina takes on the former Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka. Both Rybakina and Azarenka have been in superb form this fortnight and both have picked up some massive victories. Rybakina dismissed the top seed and world number one Iga Swiatek in the last sixteen in straight sets. With Swiatek out, attention turned to third seed Jessica Pegula but Pegula’s title chances ended at the hands of Azarenka in the Quarterfinals.
Despite being ranked as the world number 25, Rybakina has a much better game than that. With a huge serve and huge ground game, Rybakina has a game that is worthy of a place in the top ten in the world and she is clearly demonstrating that in this tournament. With the confidence of her Wimbledon win behind her, Rybakina will know what it takes to reach the Final of a major tournament like this. She has only lost one set so far and will be confident of reaching her first ever Australian Open Final. For Victoria Azarenka this is the first time she has reached this stage of a Grand Slam since 2020. A winner of this tournament back in 2012 and 2013, it’s clear that Azarenka loves it at Melbourne Park. Many questioned whether the Belarusian still had the game to compete with the very best, but she put that notion to bed when she comfortably beat the third seed Jessica Pegula in the Quarterfinals. Azarenka’s consistency was what won her the day and against Rybakina she will need to produce something similar. Rybakina can often spray the ball all over the court and if she does that here, Azarenka will hope to take full advantage.
Jack’s Australian Open Pick:
Set Betting – Rybakina 2-1 (+300)
Magda Linette vs Aryna Sabalenka (5)
The only unseeded player left in the women’s side of the draw, Magda Linette, will take on the top seed left in the draw, Aryna Sabalenka. This will be the first time Linette will play in a Grand Slam Semifinal, and on her way to the final four, she has knocked out the 16th, 19th, fourth and 30th seeds. Sabalenka will be playing in her first Australian Open Semifinal today, she has put on a clinic so far this tournament, as she is yet to drop a set.
Magda Linette once again showed that her injury concerns were a thing of the past, beating Pliskova 2-0. The experienced Polish player has had an outstanding Australian Open tournament and deservedly finds herself in the Semifinals. Linette has been playing in great form, avoiding unforced errors and playing unbreakable defense and counter-attacking tennis. She left her opponents frustrated, as they had to make impossible shots to earn even a single point. However, her next opponent has been the master of the impossible shots in the tournament.
Aryna Sabalenka is playing like a machine. Her aggressive style of tennis is working out perfectly in this tournament, and no opponent has been able to cope with the pressure she puts on them. Her powerful and precise attack has broken every opponent’s defense so far, and Sabalelnka has yet to lose a single set in the tournament! This will be a fun clash of playing styles. If Sabalenka doesn’t bring her best game, and her attacks are anything other than perfect, Linette will be looking to pounce and steal this match. Linette and Sabalenka have played each other twice in their careers, with Sabalenka winning both matches 2-0. Judging by the form she is in, I find it hard to go against her, so I am picking Sabalenka to win 2-0 and continue that trend.
Aleksandar’s Australian Open Pick:
Set Betting – Sabalenka 2-0 (-163)
Magda Linette is undoubtedly the surprise of the tournament so far. The 30-year-old Polish player had to wait 5-6 years before reaching top 100 in 2015. Despite making her way to world number 33, Linette never managed to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam. However, this was the case until this year when she consecutively defeated Anett Kontaveit, Carolina Garcia, and Karolina Pliskova to book her spot in an Australian Open Semifinal. Linette relies much on her speed and court coverage as she is not considered a strong baseliner with a decent serve.
On the other hand, we have the complete opposite in the face of Aryna Sabalenka. The 24-year-old Belarusian has set her eyes onto reaching a Grand Slam Final after three unsuccessful attempts in the last 4. Sabalenka suffered immensely due to ongoing issues with her serve. She used to easily make 10+ double faults in a match as there were some occasions that would see her do that amount in a single set. However, it seems that she has found a way to deal with that problem as she remains the only player on the WTA Tour without a lost set in 2023. I think that Sabalenka will be able to crush Linette’s defensive style and will blast through her in straight sets.
Denis’ Australian Open Pick:
Player Spread – Sabalenka -4.5 (-133)
This year’s form player so far, Aryna Sabalenka takes on this year’s surprise package of the draw Magda Linette in the second of our Semifinal previews. Sabalenka has been in devastating form this year – currently unbeaten the world number five is yet to drop a set in the nine matches she has won so far this season. Without a doubt the biggest hitter on the WTA Tour, Sabalenka has been able to combine her huge power with much better consistency and it makes for a lethal combination. Sabalenka showed why she is now viewed as the favorite for the title when she dismissed the tricky Donna Vekic in the Quarterfinals in two easy sets. She hit a phenomenal 38 winners over the course of the match and when she hits the ball like that, nobody can stop her.
Against Linette, her awesome power will see her control the large majority of rallies and if she can keep the ball in play, she should come through the match comfortably. Many would have believed that it would have been Magda Linette’s Polish compatriot Iga Swiatek who would have reached this stage of the tournament, but it is instead the Polish number two who has made it this far. This is Linette’s first ever Grand Slam Semifinal and the world number 45 will have plans to go even further. Linette has been in stunning form over the fortnight and has lost just one set in this year’s tournament. Her straight set wins over Caroline Garcia and Karolina Pliskova showed what a great place her game is in and if Sabalenka isn’t at her best, Linette could take full advantage.
Jack’s Australian Open Pick:
Set Betting – Sabalenka 2-1 (+300)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.