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Aryna Sabalenka vs Zhang Shuai Odds & Prediction – Western & Southern Open Quarterfinals

Stephanie Myles

by Stephanie Myles in Tennis

Aug 19, 2022 · 7:28 AM PDT

Aryna Sabalenka
Aug 11, 2022; North York, ON, Canada; Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) plays a shot against Coco Gauff (USA) (not pictured) at Sobeys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
  • Even with her serve struggles, Aryna Sabalenka is into the Western & Southern Open quarterfinals
  • She faces unseeded Zhang Shuai, who ousted Naomi Osaka in the first round
  • Sabalenka is a surprisingly strong favorite. We break down her chances of making the semifinals

A match of sharp contrasts is in store Friday afternoon in Cincinnati (not before 3:30 pm ET) when the mercurial Aryna Sabalenka faces the calm and steady Zhang Shuai for a spot in the semifinals.

Sabalenka’s serve made her life complicated once again Thursday, in a late-night odyssey against Shelby Rogers.

And yet somehow, she made it through.

Sabalenka vs Zhang Odds

Player Spread Moneyline Total
[6] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) -4.5 (-103) -295 O 20.5 (-110)
Zhang Shuai (CHN) +4.5 (-121) +235 U 20.5 (-113)

Odds as of Aug. 19 at Barstool Sportsbook. Use this Barstool Sportsbook promo code to bet on the Western & Southern Open

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Sabalenka Turning the Corner?

Sabalenka’s 21-16 won-loss record this season, coming into Cincinnati, makes her year sound a lot better than it actually has been.

She has been plagued with the yips on her serve, trying to battle through them. And she has a great serve, in normal times. So it’s a big weapon missing from her arsenal.

After making the semifinals at both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2021, she was out in the fourth round at the Australian Open, and the third round in Paris. She missed Wimbledon because of the ban on Russian and Belarussian players.

Perhaps that enforced break ended up being helpful, on some level.

Coming into the week, she led the WTA Tour with 310 double faults. The next player on the list, Coco Gauff, had fewer than 200.

Sabalenka vs Zhang Head-to-Head

Aryna Sabalenka
VS
Zhang Shuai
24 (May 5, 1998) Age 33 (Jan. 21, 1989)
Minsk, Belarus Birthplace Tianjin, China
5-11 Height 5-10
10 Career WTA Singles Titles 3
No. 2 (Aug. 23, 2021) Career-Best Ranking No. 23 (Nov. 14, 2016)
No. 7 Current Ranking No. 44
$10,558,065 Career Prize Money $8,846,697
23-16 2022 Won/Loss Record 27-20
3 Head-to-Head Wins 1

Late Night Win for Sabalenka

It was nearly 12:30 am Friday morning by the time Sabalenka finally saw off Rogers.

So she doesn’t have much turnaround time.

Zhang had the “not before 3:30 pm” slot Thursday. Which is the time slot in which the two will play Friday.

By the time Sabalenka got treatment and got the adrenaline to stop pumping early Friday morning, it likely would be less than 12 hours before she has to play again. Which is not easy.

It will also be hot and humid.

 

But for Sabalenka, who has wasted so many opportunities this season because of a serve that she just can’t settle down, the victory is getting there.

She had six double-faults against Rogers, some of them at just the wrong time. But she also saved 7-of-10 break points, some of them with timely serves.

A Wondrous Week for Zhang

At 33, Zhang is known more for her doubles prowess than her singles; her career high in singles was six years ago.

But she’s had an impressive week in dispatching an out-of-sorts Osaka, then a dangerous Ekaterina Alexandrova in straight sets.

Against No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit in the round of 16, she dropped the first set before handing Kontaveit yet another tough loss in a tough season.

She has been super solid, and she’s experienced enough to stay in there through Sabalenka’s peaks and valleys.

Sabalenka vs Zhang Match History

Year Tournament Surface Score Winner
2022 Rome (R32) Outdoor Clay 6-2, 6-0 Sabalenka
2021 Stuttgart (R32) Indoor Clay 6-2, 6-2 Sabalenka
2018 Hobart (R16) Outdoor Hard 7-6 (3), 6-4 Sabalenka
2016 Tokyo 2 (R16) Outdoor Hard 6-4, 6-2 Zhang

Sabalenka Leads Head-to-Head 3-1

The two have met four times. And if there’s a conclusion to be drawn, it’s that Sabalenka really has the upper hand on the red clay.

Their two earlier meetings, on outdoor hard courts, were much closer, with Zhang winning the first one back in 2016.

But Sabalenka was not Sabalenka back then.

Then again, she’s not quite herself right now.

But she won’t cringe at seeing who is standing in the way of her getting to a WTA 1000 semifinal.

As the draw came out, Sabalenka had No. 2 seed Kontaveit, Leylah Fernandez and Osaka in her quarter. While none are in great form, her head-to-head against Zhang should help her approach the opportunity with calm.

Wait … who are we kidding? This is a Sabalenka 2022 match. There will be drama. And double faults.

Best Bet: Over 2.5 Sets (+165)

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