- Victoria Azarenka is back in the Australian Open semis for the first time since she won in 2012 and 2013
- Elena Rybakina is in her first Grand slam semifinal since winning Wimbledon last July
- It’s a great opportunity for both; read on for our analysis and Rybakina vs Azarenka picks
That the No. 22 and No. 24 seeds have reached the final four at the Australian Open, under normal circumstances, would be considered quite a shocker. But Elena Rybakina and Victoria Azarenka are not your typical No. 22 and No. 24 seeds. For one thing, the 23-year-old Rybakina – Russian-born but Kazakhstan-converted – is the 2022 Wimbledon champion. She’s the -200 favorite in the Rybakina vs Azarenka odds in this match.
Rybakina vs Azarenka Odds
| Elena Rybakina (KAZ)||-3.5 (+100)||-200||O 21.5 (-120)|
| Victoria Azarenka||+3.5 (-120)||+160||U 21.5 (+100)|
Odds as of Jan. 24 at DraftKings Sportsbook
The problem was that she didn’t earn any points for winning it, as the WTA decided to remove the ranking points in response to Wimbledon banning Rybakina’s Russian compatriots and Azarenka and her Belarussian countrywomen from taking part in the event.
WIth those points, and what she’s done in Melbourne the last 10 days, Rybakina would be ranked well into the top 10 – perhaps as high as No. 6.
Azarenka a Two-Time Australian Open Champion
As for Azarenka, she has been No. 1 in the world – a top perch she reached for the first time when she won the Australian Open 11 years ago, scarcely older than Rybakina is now.
And then, she defended her title in 2013. Those are the only two majors she has won, although she did reach the US Open final as recently as 2020.
Contrasts and Similarities
The two are a decade apart in age. But they both reached their career highs (so far) right around Australian Open time (Rybakina just before, Azarenka after) at age 22.
Both are 6-feet tall. And they are just one spot apart in the current rankings with Azarenka at No. 24 and Rybakina at No. 25.
Elena Rybakina vs Victoria Azarenka Head-to-Head
|23 (June 17, 1999)||Age||33 (July 31, 1989)|
|Moscow, Russia||Birthplace||Minsk, Belarus|
|3||Career WTA Singles Titles||21|
|No. 12 (Jan. 17, 2022)||Career-High Ranking||No. 1 (Jan. 30, 2012)|
|No. 25||Current Ranking||No. 24|
|$6,389,853||Career Prize Money||$34,927,538|
|41-23||2022 Won/Loss Record||24-14|
Azarenka Shocks Pegula
American Jessica Pegula was one of the players considered a serious contender for the title this year – which would have been her first major crown as she’s about to turn 29.
But she was shocked by Azarenka on Tuesday – 6-4, 6-1 in 1h37 in a match that left Pegula searching for answers.
She just had no feel for the ball, no rhythm. And she couldn’t find a way to get it back.
Azarenka, who drew 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the first round and had a couple of gritty comeback wins against Madison Keys and – late at night – against Zhu Lin of China, was barely pushed.
Rybakina vs Azarenka Match History
|2022||Indian Wells (R32)||Outdoor Hard||6-3, 6-4||Rybakina|
On her side, Rybakina made short work of Jelena Ostapenko – a player who can be as brilliant on the day as she can be inconsistent. She was somewhere in the middle on this day, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
It was a huge contrast in demeanors. And the quality of Rybakina’s serve versus the dubious nature of Ostapenko’s delivery is just one of the many differences between them.
It took just an hour and 19 minutes; Rybakina had 11 aces – she leads all the women players in that category during the tournament.
Ostapenko had her chances – eight break-point opportunities. But she was only able to convert one.
Rybakina vs Azarenka Prediction
The way Rybakina is playing, and the way the field has been somewhat decimated with the top seeds going out – Swiatek, Jabeur, Pegula, Garcia to name just a few – she seems headed for a second Grand Slam title.
What Azarenka has is experience. And experience winning this tournament even though it was a long time ago.
But it’s taken Azarenka a lot more to get to this stage.
Azarenka knows what’s at stake; at this stage of careers, the nerves often kick in as the big opportunities dwindle. Rybakina is still at the stage where it’s all gravy, all to be discovered,
That, and Rybakina’s superior serve, should make the difference on Thursday in the Rybakina vs Azarenka picks even if Azarenka will be the sentimental favorite.
Rybakina vs Azarenka Picks: Rybakina in Two Sets (+105)
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