Aryna Sabalenka is the slight favorite as she takes on her doubles partner at the finals of the Linz Open. Photo by @WTA (Twitter).
- The WTA Linz Open final will be played Sunday, November 15th at 9:00 ET
- Long-time doubles partners Aryna Sabalenka and Elise Mertens will face each other
- See below for a preview of the match and our best bet
To no one’s surprise, the top two seeds of the tournament will be competing for the Linz Open trophy on Sunday. But what makes this possibly the most interesting match of the tournament is that Mertens and Sabalenka are double partners, and have been since the beginning of 2019. They’ve also been very successful since teaming up together.
Mertens vs Sabalenka Linz Open Final Odds
|Elise Mertens||+1.5 (-110)||+114||U 21.5 (-103)|
|Aryna Sabalenka||-1.5 (-115)||-141||O 21.5 (-124)|
Odds taken Nov. 14 from DraftKings
Mertens Has Been Impressive
Second seed Mertens saw herself down a set against her semifinal opponent Ekaterina Alexandrova before earning her place in the finals. Going into the match, many had Alexandrova the favorite to win the match. Prior to the match, Alexandrova had yet to drop a set in the tournament, and started off strong on the indoor court surface that she strives on.
Mertens will now be playing in her second final of 2020 after defeating fourth seed and 2018 runner-up 2-6, 6-1, 7-5.
Stunning by @elise_mertens 👌#WTALinz pic.twitter.com/Ipi3tAVleJ
— wta (@WTA) November 14, 2020
While many players have struggled at least a little bit since the tennis season resumed after the COVID-19 shutdown, Mertens has actually been playing some of her best tennis, including a second straight US Open quarterfinal appearance.
In a match where both players had their moments, Mertens was able outplay Alexandrova, and force her opponent to commit a few unforced errors, winning on one of Alexandrova’s backhand errors.
Sabalenka the Favorite
Top seed in the tournament Sabalenka has officially extended her winning streak to eight in a row after defeating her semifinal opponent Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in just over two hours to earn herself a spot in the final. With this win, she also secured herself a Top 10 rank finish to the year.
.@SabalenkaA claims her spot in the final!
She takes it, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 over Krejcikova at #WTALinz pic.twitter.com/a3dl1bB79q
— wta (@WTA) November 14, 2020
She eased her way into the semifinals not having lost a set all week. This match gave her some trouble, seeing Krejcikova take the second set, who was able to come back from 2-0 and break Sabalenka at love. In the third set, Sabalenka was able to win on her first match point that she faced, earning her spot in the finals.
These two players have seen each other five times before, most recently coming earlier this year in Dubai during the round of 16 where Sabalenka won in straight sets. Sabalenka has won their past two meetings.
As I mentioned above, these two are currently doubles partners, and have won four double titles together, including the 2019 US Open championship. These two are extremely familiar and friendly with each other.
Mertens vs Sabalenka Stats
|3||Sets Dropped at 2020 Linz Open||1|
|39||Games Lost at 2020 Linz Open||31|
In what will be an extremely tight finals, it’s honestly anyone’s match to take. Sabalenka has the slight upper hand with their head-to-head record, but both have played comparable tennis this tournament.
Neither player had an easy semifinal match, but have had relatively similar routes to the finals. Sabalenka has the stronger serve between the two, but Mertens is a pretty good returner. Interestingly enough, Sabalenka’s baseline game is stronger than Mertens, but Mertens is able to volley her way into many of her points throughout a match.
Sabalenka looks to win her third title of the year, which would tie her with Simona Halep for the most title wins this season. Mertens is looking to continue her success on the second half of the year and end the year strong.
Best Bet: Sabalenka in three sets
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.