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Friday, 26 January 2018

Australian Open Tennis Day 13 Picks 2018- Women's Final (January 27th)

The Australian Open has basically reached its conclusion with the two Singles Finals to be played over the next couple of days.

First up it is the turn of the women as Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki compete for not only the first Grand Slam title of the 2018 season, but the first Grand Slam either player will have won. Add in the fact that the World Number 1 Ranking is on the line between the two top Seeds at the Australian Open and it looks to be the most fitting way for the tournament to end.

Simona Halep-Caroline Wozniacki over 21.5 games: The World Number 1 Ranking and a maiden Grand Slam is on the line as Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep compete for the Australian Open title on Saturday. Both players deserve their spot in the Final and much of the match could come down to which of these players is able to hold their nerve the best.

The edge in terms of fitness has to be given to Wozniacki who has not had nearly the same kind of difficult path through the draw as Halep. While it has to be remembered that Wozniacki was down match points and recovered from a 5-1 hole in the final set of her Second Round match, the Dane has only dropped another set on her way through to the Final.

Compare that to Halep who rolled an ankle in the First Round and has admitted she has played through some pain during the last couple of weeks. The current World Number 1 also needed to win one match 15-13 in the third set, while Halep saw off Angelique Kerber 9-7 in their Semi Final on Thursday after saving match points in the deciding set before beating one of the form players on the Tour.

Halep does come in as the last unbeaten player in 2018 having won the title in Shenzhen before her run through to the Final here. She will have to show some mental toughness to take on Wozniacki who won their two matches in 2017 including a brutal 6-2, 6-0 win at the WTA Finals in the final tournament of the season on the hard courts.

On the face of things you would think Halep would match up well with Wozniacki with an ability to scramble around the court and play solid defensive tennis, but also as the player who should have a little more aggressiveness in her play when she is on the front foot. It has been Halep's return game which has been firing wonderfully well in her last couple of wins and I think playing Wozniacki gives her a chance to get after this serve and put the pressure on her opponent.

However you can't ignore the mental aspect of losing two matches to Wozniacki in 2017 and also being 2-4 down in the head to head. In saying that, Wozniacki has shown some mental lapses as she has got closer and closer to winning her maiden Grand Slam title and that saw her drop a set to Carla Suarez Navarro in the Quarter Final and have to fend off some set points in her Semi Final win over Elise Mertens in the second set.

At some point I would expect the nerves to affect whoever is leading this match and the layers are right to have it down as a very close one. It would not be a big surprise to me if a player dominates the first set and a half before seeing the finishing line and allowing their opponent back in to force a decider.

I am really struggling to pick a winner, but these two players had needed a decider in three consecutive matches before the stunning win Wozniacki had over Halep in the WTA Finals. I am going to suggest that was an exception in what should be a match where both players are closely matched and have to deal with considerable nerves to decide who will take home all of the prizes on offer.

The biggest surprise for me would be to see one of the players run away with the match considering how both Halep and Wozniacki have been playing. Both have shown the desire and character to win matches where they have faced match point and I would expect to see two incredibly tight sets at the very least in this one as nerves keeps things close.

There is every chance a decider will be needed too and I think backing the total games line to be surpassed is the way to go in the Final.

MY PICKS: Simona Halep-Caroline Wozniacki Over 21.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet Victor (2 Units)

Australian Open Update: 34-38, - 6.50 Units (143 Units Staked, - 4.41% Yield)

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