I am not sure this match deserves to be found on Day 5 of the Australian Open, yet here we are.
I have long been critical of Jabeur’s low first serve percentage being her undoing at times, and making playing her with some larger minus game handicaps quite difficult as a result. When she presents at a large plus handicap, and at a moneyline north of $5, those thoughts and feelings certainly disappear.
This is a really tough test for Naomi Osaka in week 1, especially considering she hasn’t played Jabeur before. Jabeur’s style is somewhat unique, and her ability to mask her shot direction will be particularly important against a player like Osaka. Osaka feeds off rhythm and consistency, and you don’t get that in any great amounts against Jabeur.
The Tunisian found a rhythm with her serve in the previous round which was promising, and looked particularly strong on the return of serve against Petkovic and Schmiedlova, who both strike the ball hard. Meeting Osaka earlier in the tournament is good for Jabeur as well, with less pressure on the occasion. She finished the career of Caroline Wozniacki here last year on her way to the quarter final, so she also enjoys the conditions on offer in Melbourne.
Much like the McDonald play yesterday I am happy to split this play across the match line and the +5.5 game handicap.
1.5 units Jabeur +5.5 games vs Osaka at $1.85 (-117) at Topsport
1.25 units Jabeur to defeat Osaka at $5.60 (+460) at Topsport