Thanks to Vinny @MatterTipTennis on Twitter. We bring you our Australian Open women’s outright betting preview.
Aus Open 2023
It’s time. The wait is finally over, and the first Grand Slam of the new year is right upon us. This time, Novak Djokovic will be allowed to compete in Melbourne, and it will be super tough to beat him over best-of-five sets at his favourite Grand Slam. In the absence of world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, Djokovic is the overwhelming betting favourite. The Serb is now 1.83 (-120) across the board, and an implied probability of 55% to win his 10th Australian Open title concurs with my numbers. It’s hard to find value on the men’s side of the draw, so I’m going a little deeper on my women’s preview of the 2023 Australian Open.
Australian Open Women’s Preview
We also have a big favourite on the women’s side, with world No. 1 Iga Swiatek still being the player to beat. The Pole had an unreal 2022, where she won 67 matches, including a 37-match winning streak and winning two Grand Slams. Her form did drop a little bit towards the end of the season, though, and her 2-6 2-6 loss to Jessica Pegula at United Cup ten days ago should only encourage the rest of the field. Swiatek can still be taken on mentally – she was in tears during the said match against Pegula – and even though it requires an exceptional performance to beat her, there are a few players in her quarter capable of producing just that. Danielle Collins beat Swiatek 6-4 6-1 at this very place last year and even though her path is one of the toughest in the draw with Anna Kalinskaya in the first, Karolina Muchova in the second and Elena Rybakina in the third round, the American could take on Iga if they met in round four. It’s the draw that makes me go for the No. 22 seed Elena Rybakina here, though. The Kazakh only played doubles last week and reached the final in Adelaide together with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Her big-hitting suits these Australian courts perfectly, and she can look at a feasible first two matches with Elisabetta Cocciaretto coming off a final in Hobart but playing a match every day from Tuesday to Saturday and getting the Monday match against Rybakina in Melbourne. Not that I give too much about exhibition matches, but Rybakina also beat Swiatek 6-3 6-1 in the World Tennis League on Christmas Day. The Wimbledon winner possesses that game that, if everything clicks, can make Iga feel “helpless” – what she expressed after last week’s loss against Pegula. So although the odds on Swiatek kept rising over the last few weeks, I’m looking to oppose her with a big hitter, namely Rybakina.
The other section of Swiatek’s quarter isn’t all that loaded. After Paula Badosa’s withdrawal, Coco Gauff is the overwhelming favourite to get the other quarterfinal spot. Jelena Ostapenko is completely out of form, while two of Gauff’s potential early-round opponents are struggling with injuries in Emma Raducanu and Zheng Qinwen, who has already been part of some cruel battles this Australian summer. At 2.85 (+185), I think there is value in Gauff reaching the quarterfinal stage. If she has to deal with Swiatek – who still does everything Coco does a little better – or Rybakina in the quarterfinals, I wouldn’t be too keen on her chances to go through.
The second quarter might be the most well-rounded of the draw. Jessica Pegula does look like Swiatek’s No. 1 contender at the minute. However, I wouldn’t count out any of the seeds in this section. As accustomed, there are some injury concerns about Amanda Anisimova going into the new season. Marta Kostyuk, for whom the Australian Open will always be a special place, might step into the breach as the Ukrainian has beaten Rybakina and played Ons Jabeur close in Adelaide two weeks ago. The Czechs Barbora Krejcikova and Petra Kvitova are both capable of going on a big run and the latter especially looks rejuvenated this Australian summer. The Wimbledon champion of 2011 and 2014 already beat Pegula and Rybakina this season and the courts in Australia have always suited her game. The fact that it’s not supposed to be as hot as in previous years should only help the veteran’s chances. At 67.00 (+6600), I think Kvitova is worth a long shot.
The other eighth consists of Madison Keys, Victoria Azarenka, Jil Teichmann and Maria Sakkari as seeds and as I said before, any of them could go on a run. Especially Keys and Sakkari – who has all the tools until her mind starts playing games on her again in the later stages of tournaments – should fancy their chances in this draw. Nonetheless, in a balanced quarter like this, I’m going for the bigger-priced player, Kvitova.
While we have a lot of contenders in the second quarter, the third quarter seems to be the weakest of the draw. Daria Kasatkina and Caroline Garcia are the big seeds here and while the Russian can get overrun by any big hitter on a given day, Garcia’s odds have just dropped too far after her phenomenal second half of 2022. Her consistency will be put to the test early on and I don’t think Leylah Fernandez would be without a chance should they meet in round two. Players like Anett Kontaveit, Ekaterina Alexandrova, Zhang Shuai, Karolina Pliskova or Petra Martic have all been struggling with consistency as well lately, so only really one player is remaining, and that is Veronika Kudermetova. The 25-year-old just entered the top 10 for the first time in her career, evidence of her gradually improving. Kudermetova reached the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time last year when she went to the quarterfinals in Paris. The Russian then made it to the fourth round at the US Open, but this draw opens up a chance to go even further. As described, I’m not a huge fan of the talent in this quarter, hence I’m betting Kudermetova to get out of it at 5.50 (+450).
Having some potential matchups of the third quarter in mind, I’m distressed to see Aryna Sabalenka and Belinda Bencic in the same eighth. Both players are in superb form, and – even though nothing should shock you in a women’s Grand Slam – I can’t picture anyone preventing that blockbuster of a fourth-round match. As a 34.00 (+3300) Bencic ticketholder, I followed the Swiss’ recent success with delight. However, given that draw and the line movement – she’s only 21.00 (+2000) now, I can’t suggest an outright bet on her at this time.
Ons Jabeur is lurking at the bottom, and so are some dark horses. Beatriz Haddad Maia, Liudmila Samsonova, Donna Vekic, Sloane Stephens and Anastasia Potapova are all part of a mini-section of eight players, which shows you the unpredictability of this last eighth. They could easily go on a run if they start catching fire. And also, in Jabeur’s section, there are some potential obstacles. Giant killer Kaia Kanapi could live up to her name in round three if Jabeur gets past Marketa Vondrousova, another dangerous player in heat and humidity. I don’t mind the Czech – who finally seems to be injury-free again – getting an upset win or two. However, I was hoping for bigger odds for her to win the quarter. The Olympic silver medalist might be a player worth backing from round to round.
Suggested Outright Bets:
1u on Coco Gauff to reach the quarterfinal at 2.85 (+185)
1u on Elena Rybakina to reach the quarterfinal at 8.00 (+700)
1u on Veronika Kudermetova to win the 3rd quarter at 5.50 (+450)
0.5u on Veronika Kudermetova each-way at 26.00 (+2500)
0.25u on Petra Kvitova each way at 67.00 (+6600)
Follow Vinny on Twitter @MatterTipTennis.