Serena Williams declared herself fully fit immediately prior to the Australian Open women’s singles draw, the outcome of which led one to rate her as the tournament’s best bet.
Williams is the default betting option in any Grand Slam women’s singles event because, on her day, the 34-year-old operates on a totally different level to her fellow females – she is close to unbeatable if he produces her best form. Williams has not played a competitive match since losing 6-2 4-6 4-6 in last year’s US Open women’s singles semi-finals but she has been in full training for quite some time and she arrived at the Australian Open draw fresh off the practice court – Novak Djokovic had a sleep in.
If the Australian Open women’s singles seedings work out then the highly ranked players whom Williams will face en route to the Melbourne Park final will be Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska – the other top-10 stars in the top half of the draw are Petra Kvitova and Carla Suarez Navarro. Williams has not faced Schmiedlova, she leads close friend Wozniacki 10-1, she enjoys an 18-2 lead over Sharapova (including 17 wins in a row) and she boasts an 8-0 advantage over Radwanska so one thinks that her Australian Open women’s singles path to the final is a simple one.
Before the Australian Open women’s singles draw, bookmakers had nominated Victoria Azarenka, Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza as three of the four biggest threats to Williams, with Sharapova being the other player. Azarenka, Halep and Muguruza wound up in the bottom half of the Australian Open women’s singles draw, while Williams does not fear Sharapova at all given her dominance of their head-to-head record.
Williams is getting on in years and she cannot go on forever but one thinks that she represents a decent bet at odds of +300 with several bookmakers, including Ladbrokes and PaddyPower, to win the Australian Open women’s singles title for the seventh time – her win percentage at Melbourne Park is almost as high as her superb US Open win percentage. And such is the Australian Open women’s singles draw – one thinks that, excluding Williams, the top half is not as strong as the bottom half – one could certainly consider backing the 21-time major champion at good each-way terms.
Novak Djokovic is the rightful Australian Open men’s singles favourite but the draw could not have been any kinder to the second favourite, Andy Murray, had the Briton hacked into the IBM computer and picked his own opponents so the ITF Davis Cup hero is one’s value selection at odds of +550 with numerous bookmakers, including SkyBet.
The seven seeds in Murray’s quarter of the Australian Open men’s singles draw are consistent but exposed David Ferrer, one-dimensional John Isner, work in progress Bernard Tomic and the significantly lower ranked quartet of Feliciano Lopez, Fabio Fognini, Steve Johnson and Joao Sousa. Murray cannot face either Djokovic or Roger Federer before the Australian Open men’s singles final and, according to odds compilers, they are the players most likely to stop him opening his Melbourne Park account after much heartache.
Djokovic is easily the most probable Australian Open men’s singles winner because he has been head and shoulders above his rivals in recent times but he is trading at odds on to triumph at Melbourne Park for the sixth time in his last nine visits to the complex – it is his favourite of the Grand Slam competitions by some margin. Murray represents better value than Djokovic, with the idea being to trade the Briton if he reaches the Australian Open men’s singles final for the fifth time in his last seven attempts, which seems highly likely given his position in the main draw.
The Australian Open will get under way on Monday 18 January and run until Sunday 31 January. Usually Melbourne had a few scorching hot days during the Australian Open so it is vital that one’s punts are fit players, particularly in the men’s singles because most matches run for more than two and a half hours. Murray is as fit as a butcher’s dog and he handles extreme heat in spite of being from Scotland.
Serena Williams to win Australian Open
Andy Murray to win Australian Open