- Two-time champ Victoria Azarenka meets Jelena Ostapenko in the Indian Wells women’s semis Friday
- As the No. 27 seed and No. 24 seed respectively, they definitely were not expected to make the final four
- Read on as we break down the matchup and make a prediction
With teenagers getting all the attention in women’s tennis recently, Victoria Azarenka vs Jelena Ostapenko has an “old-school” feel to it.
But the two surprise BNP Paribas Open semifinalists are eight years apart, not even of the same tennis generation. It just feels as though Ostapenko has been around forever.
This will be only the second time they’ve ever faced each other.
Victoria Azarenka vs Jelena Ostapenko Odds
| Victoria Azarenka (BLR)||-3.5 (-105)||-185||O 21.5 (-115)|
| Jelena Ostapenko (LAT)||+3.5 (-135)||+140||U 21.5 (-120)|
Odds as of Oct. 14 at DraftKings
2017 French Open Champion Ostapenko on the Come-Up
It has only been four years since Ostapenko, as she turned 20, shocked the tennis eco-system by winning the 2017 French Open.
She did it with a technically challenged serve that held up during that fortnight. But in the interim, her go-for-broke groundstrokes (and that serve) have let her down as often as not.
Since then, she has won a small title in Luxembourg at the end of 2019, and the Eastbourne tournament on grass this past summer.
At No. 29, her current ranking is as high as it’s been all year; back in March, it had dropped all the way down to No. 54. Before that, she spent more than a year in the 40s and was down to No. 79 in July 2019.
Ostapenko hasn’t evolved or improved. Her opponents know that if they can weather the patches of brilliant shotmaking, she might well beat herself.
But this week at Indian Wells, despite some serving woes, she has been vintage in dispatching a couple of annoying opponents – for different reasons (Hsieh, Putintseva), a top player (Swiatek) and an in-form player in Shelby Rogers in the quarterfinals.
BNP Paribas Open Women’s Singles Odds – Final Six*
|||Ons Jabeur (TUN)||+400|
|||Jelena Ostapenko (LAT)||+400|
|||Anett Kontaveit (EST)||+400|
|||Paula Badosa (ESP)||+500|
|||Angelique Kerber (GER)||+700|
Azarenka Also Having Vintage Week
It if doesn’t feel as though Azarenka is 27-8 on the season, that’s because walkovers don’t count as losses.
And Azarenka has had a bunch.
She withdrew mid-event in her opening tournament before the Australian Open, in Qatar and in Madrid. She pulled out in Bad Homberg before Wimbledon, and again in Chicago the week before Indian Wells.
Earlier in the season, it was back woes. The last two withdrawals have been unspecified.
She appeared for her press conference after the quarterfinal win Wednesday over Jessica Pegula wearing sunglasses; bright lights tend to trigger migraines.
Victoria Azarenka vs Jelena Ostapenko Head-to-Head
|32 (July 31, 1989)||Age||24 (June 8, 1997)|
|Minsk, Belarus||Birthplace||Riga, Latvia|
|21||Career WTA Singles Titles||4|
|2||Career Grand Slam Titles||1|
|No. 1 (Jan. 29, 2012)||Career High Ranking||No. 5 (March 19, 2018)|
|No. 32||Current Ranking||No. 15|
|$33,133,916||Career Prize Money||$9,752,419|
|27-8||2021 Won/Loss record||32-17|
|0||Career Head to Head||0|
Hard-Hitting, Noisy Match in Store
There’s not much to pick from in the head-to-head.
When they met in the first round of the 2019 French Open, their rankings were about equal. It was a tough draw for Ostapenko, her second consecutive first-round loss in Paris after her 2017 title.
Victoria Azarenka vs Jelena Ostapenko Match History
|2019||French Open (R128)||Outdoor Clay||6-4, 7-6 (4)||Azarenka|
Azarenka said this week that she was looking to find ways of shortening points. She sees the calendar ticking and is looking to save a little cumulative wear and tear.
But against Ostapenko, vintage, aggressive but consistent grinding from the baseline will serve her well.
Azarenka hasn’t lost a set in four matches. She should be fresh enough to withstand the barrage – and experienced enough to ignore the inevitable drama bubbling on the other side of the court.
Jelena Ostapenko fires 51 winners en route to a comeback win over Shelby Rogers, winning 64 46 63 to advance to her 1st WTA 1000 semifinal since 2018 Miami.
Ostapenko came back from 1-3, 0-40 to win the final 5 games of the match.
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) October 14, 2021
By contrast, Ostapenko has played a lot of tennis. She’s had two three-setters in singles this week; the comeback win over Rogers Wednesday took a lot out of her.
And on Thursday, she’ll be playing her fourth doubles match of the tournament.
Best Bet: Azarenka wins in two sets (+135) and to cover the spread (-105)
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