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Leylah Fernandez
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports
Odds and Ends

Best Bet for US Open Women's Final

by Kenny Ducey
Updated On: September 11, 2021, 2:00 pm ET

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After most of the seeds advanced to the Round of 16 on the women's side, things got very crazy. Two teenagers — one who had to qualify for the tournament and one which only won her first WTA event this year — wrecked the top talent remaining the field en route to a meeting in the Final. In a shocking twist, it's the qualifier who's favored by quite a bit, but is that warranted? Let's get into how to bet Saturday's exciting quarterfinal.

Emma Raducanu (-223) vs. Leylah Fernandez (+146)

Raducanu and Fernandez have both stared down some incredible competition on the way here. The British qualifier, at just 18 years of age, took out Maria Sakkari, who had one of the most commanding serving performances I've seen all year, after eliminating this year's gold medalist in Tokyo, Belinda Bencic, in quite easy fashion.

Those two wins were mighty impressive, with Raducanu hitting flat, powerful backhands to finish off points and holding her nerve in every service game. It should also be stated that for how good she was on serve, Sakkari and Bencic simply weren't all that convincing. Bencic wasn't sure of her forehand, which sailed wild, and Sakkari looked tired after a long run in Queens.

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Fernandez's run has been arguably the more impressive of the two. She had to break the best hardcourt player in the world, Naomi Osaka, as she served for the match, and played a ridiculously sound tiebreaker. Then, she beat a very in-form Angie Kerber, a former World No. 1, the fifth seed Elina Svitolina, who had been playing excellent tennis and searching for her first Grand Slam, and Aryna Sabalenka. the win over Sabalenka was stupendous, considering she was overpowered in that match by a wide margin.

Every step of the way, Fernandez redirected that power and used it to her advantage. She took her backhand up the line to win many points and held serve admirably. Of course, Raducanu is going to be a very difficult challenge with the way she's been returning and how precise she's been, but I don't see a reason why Fernandez should be an underdog of these proportions.

Fernandez has much more experience on tour than Raducanu, even at 19, and I think her composure in the face of insane pressure will prepare her well for this moment. I think the British sensation has been bailed out a bit by her competition, and the players Fernandez has had to knock down in the process of getting her were perhaps the greatest collection of wins I can recall in a Slam in recent memory.

Edge: Fernandez +146

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Kenny Ducey

Kenny Ducey is a former member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, writing and editing for Sports Illustrated and Baseball Prospectus. His work also appears at DraftKings and The Action Network. Follow him on Twitter @KennyDucey.