The Pick: Hsieh Su-wei vs. Sara Errani, Australian Open third round

The Pick: Hsieh Su-wei vs. Sara Errani, Australian Open third round

In their three previous matches, the Italian has lost just six total games.

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook and are subject to change

Thursday’s match between Sara Errani and Hsieh Su-wei will present one of the more fascinating displays of outside-the-box tennis you will see at this year's Australian Open. 

Though Errani’s 6-1, 6-0 scoreline against Venus Williams Tuesday night will ultimately be attributed to an unfortunate ankle injury, it’s worth nothing that the Italian raced to a 5-1 lead in the first set when all things were equal. Meanwhile, Hsieh’s upset over Bianca Andreescu was due to a sensational and surgical performance against the understandably rusty Canadian. 

If you need one thing to defeat Hsieh, it’s patience. If you try and force the issue at the wrong time, Hsieh will make you pay. But perhaps no player is more content to put high, deep and uncomfortable balls in play than Errani. Tennis is a game of match-ups, and it seems that Errani’s game is a nightmare for the 35-year-old from Taiwan: In their three previous matches, Errani has dropped just six total games. 

This time around, the oddsmakers expect a much closer encounter, with DraftKings listing Hsieh as a sizeable -195 favorite. The quick courts will help Hsieh, but sometimes in tennis, a player just has your number. 

For Hsieh to turn the tide, she’ll need to use the court speed to her advantage. She’s not going to beat the Italian by grinding from the baseline, and will look to use sharp angles to her advantage, like she does below. 

Attacking the open-court against lightning-quick defenders like Errani is often a mistake. Look for Hsieh to finish the points by wrong-footing the Italian, like this. 

It’s not always pretty, but Errani is a master at mixing up the pace in her rallies. Oftentimes her hardest hit ball is her return, which will likely cause problems for the slow-serving Hsieh. 

While Hsieh is the favorite, her past struggles against Errani are concerning. Hsieh is the definition of a counter-puncher, but Errani won’t give her much to counter, or punch. It’s a risky underdog bet, but I expect Errani’s refusal to provide any pace to redirect will ultimately frustrate Hsieh. If you beat someone 6-0, 6-1, on two different occasions, there’s probably a big reason why. 

The Pick: Sara Errani