Time: 10:30am AEDT
I cannot say I was overly sold on the Australian Open qualifying form of the young American Whitney Osuigwe. That form and making the trip to Melbourne has helped her land this opportunity, and her opposition strength levels are going to make life tough for her in Melbourne.
Osuigwe was able to defeat Kawa, Gadecki and Buzarnsescu to qualify for the main draw. Given Gadecki troubled her for patches and had some untimely unforced errors late in set 2, and Buzarnescu looked well below her best in her ongoing return to tennis from serious injury, the run looks a little better on paper than it was in reality. Whilst her game is still continuing to develop, I do have some question marks surrounding her temperament at times as well, which may come to the fore today against a player who is a very capable striker off both wings in Anastasia Potapova. It is also worth noting that the American is 2-11 lifetime against Top 100 players, with her wins coming against Belinda Bencic at the end of 2018 in an ITF tournament, and Madison Brengle in a clay ITF final in 2019. When you condense the record down to players ranked 40-100, her record currently sits at 1-8.
Potapova’s current ranking probably doesn’t do her justice, given she skipped the back end of 2020 given the uncertainty in the world regarding COVID. Her form in the lead-up to the tour being suspended was certainly building, and included quarter final appearances in St Petersburg, Acapulco and Monterrey. She has only had one match back on tour, coming up against Maria Sakkari in red-hot form in Abu Dhabi. She lost 4-6 2-6, however when you look at the level that Sakkari was able to produce across the course of the week, I am not too concerned overall given the drop in opposition strength today.
Most of this match is going to rest on the racquet of Potapova. Osuigwe regularly found herself needing to defend with slice off both wings in AO qualifying, and against the likes of Gadecki and Buzarnescu, that was able to keep her in it in some key moments. Taking Potapova here with the -2.5 game handicap looks to be a solid bet, which I am happy to take for 2 units.
2 units Potapova -2.5 games vs Osuigwe at $1.89 (-112) at Unibet