United States’ Serena Williams makes a backhand return to Australia’s Daria Gavrilova during a tuneup tournament ahead of the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Hamish Blair)
- Day 1 of the 2021 Australian Open will get underway tonight for us in North America due to times zones
- Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, and Simona Halep headline the day
- See below for odds for the Top 20 matches of the day and a preview of three where we see value
The 2021 Australian Open is officially slated to get underway later today for us in North America, with the first match taking place at 7:00 pm ET. Day 1 is headlined by Osaka, the favorite to win the tournament, S. Williams, who’s searching for her record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title, and World No. 2, Simona Halep.
In a tournament like this with over 100 players competing, there’s a great possibility of upsets in the early rounds. So let’s take a look at three matches taking place on Day 1, and preview them to see where the best value is.
2021 Australian Open Women’s Singles Day 1 Odds
Odds taken Feb. 7th from DraftKings
Polona Hercog vs Caroline Garcia
Garcia is the favorite the win her opening match against Hercog, and that’s no surprise. Garcia has had a pretty good start to the 2021 season, making it to the quarterfinals of the Gippsland Trophy, losing to Elise Mertens, who went on to win the tournament.
Hercog and Garcia have faced each other a few times in the past. The former Top 10 player Garcia holds the 3-0 head-to-head record, with two of those three wins coming in straight sets.
It’s worth noting that Garcia hasn’t lost in the first round of this Grand Slam in her last four appearances here, whereas Hercog’s Aussie Open record is 3-7. Hercog wasn’t looking her sharpest this past week, looking a little flat in her loss, and battling injury.
So instead of just taking Garcia to win outright with a -195 moneyline, I’d say the value is going with Garcia to win in straight sets.
Best Bet: Garcia to win in straight sets (+130)
Veronika Kudermetova vs Marta Kostyuk
This will be the second time these two players have seen each other. The first time they saw each other was just earlier this year in the semifinals in Abu Dhabi. Kudermetova defeated Kostyuk 7-6(8), 6-4.
The 18-year old Ukrainian player is not the favorite to win the match, but based on how she’s been playing, it’s possible she upsets her opponent here, but will it go the distance? If it goes the distance, I think that’s where Kudermetova can take advantage, and end up winning.
Kudermetova herself is coming off a lose to Ann Li in the second round in the Melbourne tune-up this past week, losing 7-5, 6-3.
In 2021, both players have a fairly similar hard court record. Kudermetova is 6-2, and Kostyuk is 5-2.
Kostyuk came close to taking a set off Kudermetova last time they faced each other, and I’d say she has the ability to do so this time around. But I think that’s as good as it might get this match.
Best Bet: Kudermetova to win in three sets (+340)
Alison Riske vs Anastasia Potapova
It’s been about four months since Riske has played a singles match. Her last match was last year at the French Open where she lost in three sets to Julia Goerges in the first round.
Potapova recently played Simona Halep this past month in the Gippsland Trophy, and went down in straight sets, losing 4-6, 4-6.
Riske poses more experience, and has had some success at the Australian Open. Last year she lost in the fourth round to Ashleigh Barty.
These two players have never seen each other, and don’t have much to go off of going into this match. The seeded Riske looks to be able to upset her opponent in the first round.
Best Bet: Riske to win (+135)
A graduate of Sport Media at Ryerson University, Hayley is the ultimate student of sports. Whether she is playing it, watching it, debating it, or writing it, it’s safe to assume sport consumes the majority of her life. She has worked both internationally and with the NBA.