Anisimova vs Sharma (Approx 02:00am AEST)
Considering the level of tennis she has displayed this week, and the overall quality of serving not only in singles but doubles as well, I feel as though the +3.5 game handicap here looks to be a really appealing prospect. Whilst I also like Sharma to take the victory today, I am happy to settle for the safer option of the 3.5 game head start.
Whilst Amanda Anisimova has certainly staked her claim on hardcourt to start 2019, this week has highlighted the fact there is still a way to go before that is true of her hardcourt tennis. I just cannot consider the -3.5 game start for her based off her performances this week. Outside of her 6-4 6-4 win over Lepchenko, she has been pushed to 3 sets by Lisicki, Camil Osorio and Haddad Maia. When a player giving up -3.5 game head starts is having down patches consistently against lower ranked players across the course of a tournament, it is difficult to trust that not to occur in the final as well. Further to this, I wonder if Anisimova will have any doubts in the back of her head from her previous WTA final appearance, where she was wiped off the court in Hiroshima by Hsieh after a dominant week of tennis.
Astra Sharma is one of the mentally strongest up and coming players I have encountered. Having watched her live in December in the Australian Open Wildcard Playoff, I was impressed at her mental fortitude in tight moments, and her confidence in her ability to get to the net and get the job done. Sharma is a very tactical player, and I have no doubt today that she will be doing her absolute best to target the backhand on Anisimova on serve, especially with the second serve kick serve. Sharma’s week on clay has been focussed around using her serve to generate a solid 1-2 punch, and that will be achieved very regularly if she targets the Anisimova backhand. Time and time again against Haddad Maia, Anisimova attempted to slice the serve back into play, which given her slice is not overly penetrating, meant she relinquished control of the point in that instance. Against a player like Sharma, who is so accurate off the ground once she is able to step inside the baseline and attack, that spells trouble for Anisimova, who isn’t the best mover on clay on tour.
A 3.5 game headstart seems incredibly generous when you consider the way Sharma has been serving this week. The occasion of the final shouldn’t be too much for Sharma, and she will be feeling good after claiming the doubles title yesterday as well. Happy to make a 3 unit selection at the +3.5 game handicap for Sharma today.
3 units Sharma +3.5 games vs Anisimova at $1.95 at Topsport
Note: Odds correct at time of posting