Let’s hear it for the girls: while much of the attention of the media and punters alike will be over on the mens draw and whether Novak Djokovic can make it six Australian Open titles, price it would be foolish to ignore the womens side of things as there is so much betting value to be enjoyed.
Serena Williams is the firm bookmakers’ favourite, visit but with six seeds out of the tournament after just one day of action it is fair to say that this is an event that could have plenty of shocks and surprises in store.
Serena is safely through to round two though, online and as a six-time winner here – and the reigning champion – she will be looking to make it a magnificent seven during the next fortnight. She dropped just two sets on her way to the title in 2015, and with three majors to her name last season it is clear that the world number one isn’t ready to give up her position as the finest player on the WTA Tour; even at the grand old age of 34.
So who are the young pretenders to her crown in 2016?
The number two seed has climbed the WTA rankings on the back of some consistent form, although she has yet to really spark in the Grand Slam events with just one final appearance to her name at Roland Garros.
Worryingly for the Romanian she has also been beaten on hard courts in each of her last four outings, and so she isn’t really justifying her position as one of the leading betting tips here.
Her career record shows this is her favourite surface however, and with two consecutive quarter final appearances at the Australian Open – not to mention a straightforward enough draw until the last eight – she should go close once again.
The Spaniard was one of two players to take a set off Serena here last year in their last eight encounter, and she capped a fine year on the tour by reaching the final of Wimbledon.
Muguruza retired from her only match of 2016 to date, but she has reached the last four – at the minimum – of each of the last three events in which she has played on hard surfaces.
On the other side of the draw to Serena, the third seed could go deep into this tournament if she can overcome her likely opponent in the last 16, Victoria Azarenka.
Played five, won five; that’s how Victoria Azarenka’s record on hard courts looks in 2016 so far. She didn’t drop a set on her way to victory at the WTA Brisbane event a fortnight ago, and in fact no player took her past 6-3 in a set. It is clear that all facets of her game are operating well.
The Belarusian was beset by injuries in 2014, but bounced back well last season with two quarter final appearances at Wimbledon and the US Open. She’ll be looking to kick on this year, and given her current form should go far in this one.
The number 14 seed should enjoy a breezy run to the last 16, where Muguruza awaits. If she can get past that obstacle then she should reach the last four as a bare minimum. Backing her at 5.00 is one of today’s betting tips that looks likely to do the business.
A decent start to 2016 will have given plenty of confidence to Angelique Kerber, and with the German occupying the other half of the draw to Serena she too has an opportunity to lift her maiden major trophy.
The seventh seed here reached the final of the WTA Brisbane event, before retiring from WTA Sydney. The likelihood is that she walked away there as she didn’t want to risk an injury heading into a major, rather than anything more sinister.
Kerber has won eight of her last ten matches on hard courts, and as a two-time major semi-finalist has the pedigree to cause an upset or two Down Under.