US Open Betting: Trend of two set finals to continue in all-Italian affair

The final of the ladies singles in the 2015 US Open is all set for Saturday between Roberta Vinci and Flavia Pennetta.

On a quite stunning day in New York on Friday we managed to find one nice winner from our two bets in the women’s semi finals after rain delayed the matches until day 12 when Roberta Vinci won the second set against Serena Williams.

Vinci then went on to create one of the biggest upsets in women’s tennis history when the Italian came from a set down to beat Williams, who was after the Grand Slam (there's no such thing as a 'calendar slam' by the way), but left empty handed.

The +1.5 sets bet at 3.95 came in after Simona Halep, as I suggested, again froze on the big stage and was unable to even take her clash with Pennetta over the 17.5 games mark as a short-priced favourite.

Flavia Pennetta vs Roberta Vinci

I said a few days ago that my last remaining outright bet in the women’s singles was a speculative 600-1 punt on Pennetta, but I really was not expecting a day like Friday.

I was hopeful that Flavia could take advantage of Halep’s usual big match nerves, but I really didn’t expect Vinci to take more than the one set I predicted against Williams at best.

But the pressure of going for that Grand Slam got to Williams in the end and she was unable to deal with the variety of Vinci, who showed a surprising lack of nerves in serving out the match in the decider.

Ticket prices for this women’s singles final have dropped like a stone from their height of around $1,500 to about $35 and hopefully they’ll be snapped up some of the large Italian contingent in New York to make a good atmosphere on Ashe.

In their maiden Grand Slam final the very least this pair of thirty-somethings deserve is a full house and a great atmosphere in what will probably be their only appearances on this stage.

They have met on nine prior occasions, with Pennetta leading 5-4 in their career series, and it’s Pennetta that has won three of their last four meetings, but only one has come in the last couple of years.

That was here at the US Open in 2013 in the quarter finals when Pennetta won 6-4, 6-1 and their last half a dozen clashes have all ended in comfortable two set wins for the victor.

Indeed, the winner of those matches would have covered a -6.5 game handicap each time, but surely a major final between them won’t be one-way traffic?

Obviously, I’ll be hoping for a Pennetta win, and she has to be the favourite, but I can’t imagine it will be straightforward in these circumstances.

Historically, the ladies singles finals here have been decided in straight sets, with 17 of the last 19 finishing in two sets – the exceptions being the two between Williams and Vika Azarenka in 2012 and 2013.

Looking at the odds today my first thought is that Pennetta is a tad short under these unique circumstances at 1.41 in what for most would surely be little more than maybe a 60/40 match in her favour.

This one will by and large rest upon who handles the occasion better and Vinci certainly had few problems in that department when faced with derailing the Grand Slam bid of Williams in a major semi final yesterday.

Pennetta when priced up as a 1.40 to 1.50 favourite in Grand Slams has an 8-2 winning record, with only one loss since 2009, and that was against an improving Angelique Kerber here in 2011.

Vinci has a dismal record as underdog of price 2.95 or bigger in Grand Slams, with that victory over Williams being her first in 15 tries and never before had she even won a set at that price.

Indeed, of the 28 sets Vinci played at majors prior to the Williams match as a 2.95 or bigger underdog she lost all 28 and only made it as far as 10 games in a set once.

I think that Pennetta’s game will be the one to prevail here, and there’s the ‘flatness after a huge win’ factor with Vinci too, but Flavia’s a tad short for my liking, so I prefer the under 2.5 sets at 1.55 instead.

It has the feel to me of a two setter, with one player coping with the situation a fair bit better than the other, and their history and US Open final history would concur with that view.

The other option is the 2-0 to Pennetta, but it’s a bit short at 2.17, given that she was a 2.06 underdog to win the whole match last time she met Vinci here only two years ago.

So, the 2.80 on Pennetta -5.5 games might be a better choice for bigger-priced punters, but I think this one will be done in straight sets.

Best Bets
Value bet: Back under 2.5 sets at 1.55