Serena Williams pulled off the huge upset over No. 2-ranked Anett Kontaveit, winning in three dramatic sets to win her 22nd consecutive second-round match at the US Open and 103rd match inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.
It wasn’t pretty, but Australian Ajla Tomljanovic won a three-set, 2:30-hour battle with Evgeniya Rodina. Tomljanovic committed 57 unforced errors but benefitted from seven service breaks to get the Australian into the third round for the second consecutive season.
It’s the legend vs the journey-woman, and we break it all down for you with our US Open preview and predictions.
Williams vs Tomljanovic odds
|Serena Williams||Ajla Tomljanovict|
|-2.5 (-115)||Game spread||+2.5 (-105)|
|Over 21.5 (-105)||Total games||Under 21.5 (-115)|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on Sept. 1, 2022.
Williams vs Tomljanovic picks
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Williams vs Tomljanovic betting preview
Queen Serena is still alive in this tournament.
With the crowd on her side and Tiger Woods cheering from her box, the legend of Serena Williams grew larger with her three-set victory over Anett Kontaveit.
It wasn’t pretty at times, but Williams used a mixture of experience, gamesmanship, and big serving to put away the feisty, big-hitting Estonian, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2 to set up a third-round encounter with Australian Ajla Tomljanovic.
Tomljanovic had a tough, error-riddled, three-set battle with Evgeniya Rodina, but the Australian hung tough when it mattered most and now faces the daunting task of playing Serena Williams in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The key for Williams will be to dictate play with her monster first-serve, use the crowd to her full advantage, and not get into any prolonged rallies with the big-hitting Tomljanovic.
For Tomljanovic to win this match, she’ll need to block out the crowd, win a high percentage of second serves, and make Williams play a lot of balls on Friday night.
Williams vs Tomljanovic predictions and best bet
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the players and is an indication of who we are leaning with to win this match. Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this match or where the most value lies, and is where we would put some of our bankroll behind.
Prediction: Williams moneyline
Tomljanovic is going to be in for a long night at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Serena did three things in her second-round match that were old-school gamesmanship and why she’s the greatest of all time.
Midway through the second set, Williams started chirping at the chair, which riled up the fans, who then became more vocal towards her opponent.
Upon losing the second set, Serena took an extended bathroom break with the hopes of changing Kontaveit’s momentum. Needless to say, it worked.
Early in the third set, Kontaveit was clearly rattled by the crowds’ constant taunts towards her while trying to serve. Williams wagged her finger Dikembe Mutumbo style, the crowd went eerily silent, and Serena rolled to a three-set victory.
Ajla Tomjanovic is a big-hitting Australian lady with an equally big serve. She qualified for both Toronto and Cincinnati this summer and is coming off a tough three setter where she was broken seven times and won just 44% of her second serve points.
That’s not going to get the job done Friday night against Queen Serena.
Williams did not dominate the match on Wednesday night. The third-set, 6-2 score may have appeared lopsided, but Serena won just one more point than her opponent (100-99).
Serena won because she played the big points well, and I expect her to play the big points well in Round 3. Williams will have a Friday night crowd on her side, and she’ll draw from their energy to continue her incredible run.
Tomljanovic is prone to errors with a shaky serve and just a 64% service hold rate on the hard courts this season. Her 35% break of serve rate is solid, but not spectacular enough to offset the errors and service woes against a legend like Serena Williams.
Tomljanovic is well known for her go-big-or-go-home style of play, and that’s not going to get the job done on Friday night against one of the greatest competitors tennis has ever seen.
Prediction: Williams moneyline (-160 at Pinnacle)
Best bet: Williams -2.5 games
Serena is going to roll Tomljanovic, and the final score probably won’t be all that close.
The 7 pm start on a Friday night is perfect for Williams. The Happy Hour crowd will be rolling in, the alcohol will be flowing, and the celebrities will be out in full force to cheer for their Queen, and she’s going to deliver.
We’ve seen how the crowd affects Williams’ opponents, and Friday night will be no exception. Fueled by alcohol and the promise of a three-day holiday weekend, the likely standing room-only crowd is going to cheer every Tomljanovic miss and roar every time Serena wins a point.
Kontaveit admitted during the post-match presser that she was rattled by the crowd, and this is coming from the No. 2 players in the world. Tomljanovic has a history of being easily frustrated, and I can’t imagine her experience being any different Friday night against arguably the greatest player to ever play the game.
The Australian big-bomber has 11 wins this summer on the hard courts but has won just 47% of the hard-court games played during the 2022 season. Her 64% service hold rate isn’t going to cut it against the world-renowned and aggressive Williams return game.
Finally, Williams has 103 match victories in Arthur Ashe Stadium, will have a raucous crowd on her side, and will jump-start the Labor Day Weekend with a huge victory over Tomljanovic.
Pick: Williams -2.5 games (-113 at Pinnacle)