What a tournament it’s been so far in New York. History was made last night when Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier in the Open Era, male or female, to make the final of a Grand Slam. Raducanu also became the first British woman to reach the US Open finals since Virginia Wade in 1968.
At the same time, Leylah Annie Fernandez became the first player born in 2002 to reach the US Open final and it will be the first all-teenage women’s singles final since the 1999 US Open between Martina Hingis and Serena Williams. With both in impeccable form so far in this event, the question is: who will rise to the occasion and claim their maiden Grand Slam?
Join me as I analyze the WTA odds for Day 13 in Flushing Meadows and offer my best value picks and predictions for Sportsbook Review!
Emma Raducanu vs. Leylah Annie Fernandez
Saturday, September 11, 2021 – 04:20 PM EDT at Arthur Ashe Stadium
The first thing to point out about this match is that it is very difficult to get a clear read. So much will depend upon who can hold their nerve under pressure and with both playing the biggest match of their life it’s nearly impossible to predict with any confidence.
They have both been in superb form and if anything I would lean towards Raducanu but the market agrees which makes it hard to see much if any value.
Leylah has shown incredible heart, determination and adaptability in this event winning her last four matches in deciding sets and becoming just the third woman in the Open Era to defeat three of the top five seeds at the US Open.
She has a superb record as an underdog winning 21 of 48 matches since 2017 for a 44% ROI and 10 of 17 over the last 12 months.
Emma has more natural power and arguably more talent overall, but Fernandez is the more versatile player and has had to prove her worth under pressure much more so far in this event.
The only downside of Raducanu winning every match without dropping a set or really facing much of a threat at all is that it is difficult to have confidence that she will react well if she is threatened in the final.
That said, it would not be an overstatement to say that Raducanu has been comfortably the most impressive breakthrough player on tour this year and the market has been as surprised as everyone.
Raducanu has a 22-6 record and 63% ROI so far this year and, discounting retirements before the first set has been completed, she’s won all 15 matches as the favorite in 2021.
There isn’t a single weakness on show at this event and her anticipation and movement have been particularly impressive. It rarely looks like she is struggling to reach the ball and her striking has been clean, precise and intelligent.
I mentioned that she hasn’t been put in a lot of pressure spots, but she has shown character when under pressure. She was an early breakdown to Bencic and Rogers before going on to win both sets and she saved seven of seven break points against Sakkari.
The question remains as to how she will react if she is, says, a set and break down, or in a deciding set tiebreak, but from the evidence thus far, she has played as well if not better when behind.
In fact, Emma’s level has frankly been unplayable and while it would be fair to say that all three of Bencic, Rogers and Sakkari faded under pressure, that is not a surprising thing to happen when a player can’t put a foot wrong and is playing such an aggressive game style.
Osaka served for the match against Fernandez, while Kerber was a set and break up and Sabalenka also took an early 3-0 lead, and in each case, it would also be fair to say that Leylah has benefited from players crumbling somewhat under pressure.
As with Emma, I would take nothing away from Fernandez’s ability to force the issue in those crucial moments but the fact is that you need the luck to go your way if you’re making a comeback from a set and break down.
Emma has not tempted fate in that way (yet) and for that reason, she has the have the edge to my mind, both in terms of her overall level and in the fewer hours accrued on the court. Fernandez has played for an average of 2 hours 15 minutes per match over her last 4 matches whereas Raducanu has an average of just 1 hour 15 minutes, though Raducanu also played an extra three matches to qualify.
Perhaps one tactic is to take a gamble on Raducanu choking under pressure if she takes a significant lead given the occasion and how well Fernandez has fought back from behind. But when these two met in the 2018 Wimbledon Girls fourth-round Emma won 6-2 6-4 and while they are vastly different players now, it may be a sign that it’s a match that could easily end in a one-sided scoreline.
I’m happy cheering on Emma as a fan and leaving this match from a betting perspective but feel free to take this analysis to your benefit at your favorite sports betting site.
WTA Pick: No Bet