United States’ Jennifer Brady makes a forehand return to Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic during a tuneup event ahead of the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021.(AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
- Upsets and withdrawals have led to two unexpected semifinals of the Grampians Trophy
- Both matches feature unheralded players off to terrific starts in 2021
- Where is the best betting value Down Under as the ladies tune up for the Australian Open?
With the countdown to the Australian Open’s start ticking, several big names have opted to rest before the first major of 2021. That, and some significant upsets, lead to an interesting final four battling for the Grampians Trophy title.
Maria Sakkari and Anett Kontaveit are both 25 years old and had nearly identical records last year. Meanwhile, in the other semi another 25 year old, American Jen Brady is coming off the best year of her career and has started 2021 hot. She faces fellow American, 21 year old Ann Li.
Let’s look carefully at the Grampians Trophy semifinals with an eye towards finding betting value.
Sakkari vs Kontaveit Grampians Trophy Semifinal Odds
|Maria Sakkari||-1.5 (+102)||-150||Over 19.5 (-105)|
|Anett Kontaveit||+1.5 (-127)||+123||Under 19.5 (-121)|
All Odds from DraftKings taken Feb. 6
Sakkari vs Kontaveit History
This is the eighth meeting between Maria Sakkari and Anett Kontaveit. Sakkari holds a 4-3 edge and is 3-2 on hard courts.
Sakkari won the lone meeting in Australia, 6-0, 6-4 in 2017. None of the seven battles between these rivals has gone beyond straight sets.
Sakkari is Steady if not Spectacular
With few exceptions Sakkari won two or three matches in each tournament she played last year before bowing out.
She took Petra Kvitova to a third set in the fourth round of the Australian Open. That said, Sakkari failed to reach a final in any event.
She is off to a strong start this year. She won four matches including upsets over Garbine Muguruza and and Sofia Kenin in Dubai last month before falling in the semifinals.
Her two matches in Australia have been easy victories over Leylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber.
Kontaveit Has Highs and Lows
The start of last year looked very promising for Kontaveit. She reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, and after a long layoff during the pandemic returned to reach the Final in Palermo.
She fell to Naomi Osaka in the fourth round of the U.S. Open, but things went downhill after that. Her final three tournaments of 2020 produced a total of two victories.
In Dubai to begin 2021 she lost her opening match. In Australia she easily handled Christina McHale, beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands 7-5, 7-5, and advanced to the semis when Victoria Azarenka withdrew from their quarterfinal meeting.
Sakkari vs Kontaveit Grampians Trophy Best Bet
Sakkari is playing better right now, is easier to trust, and -150 is a reasonable price, though we are tempted to lay the game-and-a-half and take +102. Since these two have never played a third set, taking under or even an alternative total like Under 17.5 (+275) isn’t crazy.
Brady vs Li Grampians Trophy Semifinal Odds
|Jennifer Brady||-3.5 (-127)||-295||Over 18.5 (-136)|
|Ann Li||+3.5 (+100)||+230||Under 18.5 (+108)|
Brady vs Li History
This is the first meeting between the two Americans. Brady attended UCLA after growing up in Pennsylvania. She had a strong 2017, struggled a bit for a couple of years, but was solid last year. Brady has been ranked in the Top 25.
Li is also from Pennsylvania. She did not attend college and turned pro in 2017 after reaching the junior final at Wimbledon. She is coming off of her best professional year, winning a match at the Australian Open, and two at the U.S. Open.
Brady Is Playing the Best Tennis of her Career
While 2020 was nothing special for Brady before the pandemic break, she played really well from August on. She won the Top Seed Open in Lexington, and reached the semifinals at the U.S. Open.
After falling to Naomi Osaka in three sets during the semis in New York, Brady lost her first match in the French Open, but made the semis at her final tournament of the year, the Ostrava Open in the Czech Republic.
Brady was one and done, losing to Tamara Zidansek in Dubai to begin 2021. In Australia she has gotten by Svetlana Kuznetsova, Marta Kostyuk, and Barbora Krejcikova in straight sets.
2021 Australian Open Odds Tracker
Li Is A Work in Progress
Li has not played in nearly the number of high profile events as Brady. Last year Li won a match at the Australian Open, and two at the U.S. Open.
After upsetting Alison Riske in New York, she lost to Angelique Kerber in the third round. In October she won an ITF event in Tyler, TX.
In the Grampians Trophy this year she faced Ellen Perez in the opening round. Perez retired with Li ahead 5-3 in the first set. Li beat Veronika Kudermetova in the second round, and Sorana Cirstea in the quarters, both in straight sets.
Brady vs Li Grampians Trophy Best Bet
While Brady is likely to win, the -295 price is too steep. Something like 6-4, 6-3 feels about right, and therefore we’ll lay the 3.5 games. Li is talented, but at this juncture hard to back.
Dave Friedman has covered professional and college sports for two decades. From ESPN to the Associated Press, Regional Sports Networks, Metro Networks, and many local outlets, he has written about and broadcast major and minor events throughout the country.