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Australian Open Preview

aussie open

Can Novak retain his title or will Federer triumph to win another Major?

Could Serena carry on her amazing form from 2015 or will we witness the start of a possible Azarenka era in Women’s Tennis?

An in-depth look of the first Grand Slam of 2016 at Melbourne, Australia…

MENS:

The Favourite(s):

There’s only one – Novak Djokovic!

The next three favourites are obviously Federer, Murray and Nadal.

Bad news for Roger is that he is in the top half of the draw with Djokovic, which means a possible semi-final encounter is very likely.

Murray looks like he may have the easiest of draws as he targets at least the semis. His main threat could come from David Ferrer, who hasn’t looked that great recently.

As for Rafa Nadal, he may end up facing Raonic or Wawrinka if he can make it to the quarterfinals. But before that, he has a tough first round match against compatriot Verdasco who took him the distance in an epic Semi Final at the 2009 Australian Open.

Decent Outsiders:

There are only 3 outsiders that I am giving a chance to upset any of the big guns. They are Nishikori, Wawrinka and Raonic.

Nishi is still young and has already beaten Djokovic at the US Open. If he can serve extremely well, there is a slim chance (A VERY SLIM SHOULD I SAY) that he can beat Novak. Odds of 100 on Betfair could have value therefore.

Wawrinka needs no introduction as he has already beaten Djokovic, not once, but  in majors. Also he’s amongst the very few who have consistently put on a good show against the seemingly unbeatable Serbian. With odtwiceds close to 15 on Betfair, he is rightly the 3rd  favourite for the bookies.

Raonic could be the surprise package of this tournament. He is coming after a very solid win at Brisbane beating Roger in the Final. What impressed me most was he looked extremely confident and aggressive throughout that tourney. Odds of almost 50 look very tempting on the Canadian. But first, he must get past Wawrinka and then Nadal and Murray, before the daunting prospect of Djokovic!

Prediction:

There are some outsiders that I have left out such as Dimitrov and Kyrgios. However, regardless of who I put on the list, this tournament looks heavily in favour of Novak who has been breathtaking in every department for the last year or so.
To put it simply, I just can’t pick any other player winning this tournament in a best of 5 set format. Physically and mentally the Serbian looks spot on. To make it worse for all rivals, he is showing further signs of improvement as Nadal found out in the recent Doha Open getting hammered by a 6-1 6-2 scoreline. Indeed, these are the reasons why the World No.1 is priced under 1.8 on the Betfair outright market!

Have to say, if you are laying Djokovic, you are making a big mistake. ‘ALL IN’ Djokovic must be strategy here..

Novak Djokovic to successfully defend his Australian Open Title this year!

WOMEN:

The Favourites:

Serena Williams, Azarenka and Halep

No doubt Serena had an incredible year in 2015 fetching 3 Grand Slams. However, her loss to Roberta Vinci was a major shock for the Tennis world. I seriously wonder how she will cope with the target of all 4 majors this year. Obviously she can do it, but injuries are more likely when you are over 30 and therefore it looks like a big hurdle for the American. With some tough players in her draw such as Giorgi, Kasatkina, Schmiedlova and Wozniacki, I don’t think Serena will have it all her way this time at Melbourne

If Serena’s dominance slows down this year, it could be the perfect news for another huge talent, Azarenka. I thought Aza looked absolutely brilliant at Brisbane winning the title there beating Kerber by a 6-3 6-1 scoreline. If she has overcome her injuries, this could be her year!

Halep lost to Kuznetsova in the semi final at the APIA Sydney tourney a week ago. Still, I thought the Romanian showed enough aggression to be rightly listed as the 3rd favourite on Betfair.

I haven’t mentioned Maria Sharapova in this list as there are injury concerns for the Russian. It’s better to avoid backing her I feel.

Decent Outsiders:

My 3 best outsiders are Aga Radwanska, Muguruza and Kuznetsova.

Aga Radwanska is in the bottom half of Serena’s side of the draw which means a possible semi-final with the American is on the cards. I must say the Pole was simply outstanding towards the end of last season. I am expecting her to continue the form and hopefully she can get into the Finals this year.

I had predicted Muguruza to be a seriously good player before last season and indeed she proved me right by getting to the final at Wimbledon. Watch out for this girl as if she can fine tune her game a bit more, she’s right there to snatch a few grandslams. Odds of 20 on Betfair look quite tempting on the Spaniard!

Kuznetsova should not be in the picture but her form has been so good in the last tournament that I have decided to give her a chance. The only reason her odds are floating around 100 is because she is in the same section as Serena. If she plays as well as she did against Halep and Puig few weeks ago, she may have a slight chance to sneak into the Semis. Also, one tends to forget that the Russian is a two time Grand slam winner.

Consistency is the main reason for leaving out other talented players such as Kerber, Bacsinszky and Ivanovic.

Prediction:

I must admit, predicting this year’s Women’s title is going to be pretty tricky. Serena’s injury is a concern and Azarenka has shown good form.

If you are going for a dark horse to win, I suggest sticking to Aga or Mugu. On the contrary, Azarenka looks like the best bet above Serena.

Azarenka to win 2016 Australian Open for my money!

Let’s hope our first grandslam starts very positively!

Thanks for reading..

Patrick

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