Australian Open: Plenty of contenders ready to oust Kerber and Serena

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While Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic dominate the men’s game, women’s tennis has arguably never been more competitive. So ahead of the 2017 Australian Open, we’re taking a look at the top contenders in the betting, and how their odds shape up.

Last season saw Angelique Kerber, in similar fashion to what Murray did to Djokovic, usurp Serena Williams at the top of the rankings.

But with a host of players ready to oust those two in Melbourne, the Women’s Australian Open should be an enthralling affair.

Two major absences will be felt however, following the retirement of Ana Ivanovic, and the long-term injury to Petra Kvitova.

It’s now more than 17 years since Serena won her first Slam, and despite turning 35 last September, she heads Down Under as 9/4 favourite.

The American hasn’t played since bowing out of the US Open semi-finals, but remains tied with Steffi Graff on 22 Slam titles, and her desire to reach number 23 should spur Serena on for a while yet.

Far better value may lie with Kerber however at 4/1, who broke her Slam duck in Oz last year, before claiming the US Open in September.

Nobody reached more finals on last year’s WTA Tour than the German, who heads to Melbourne as world number one.

The 28-year-old didn’t win any of the four tournaments following that Flushing Meadows success, but unlike Serena, Kerber can call upon regular match-time ahead of Australia.

At 8/1, Simona Halep will be hoping 2017 will be the year she claims her first Slam success.

The Romanian bagged three WTA titles last season, and reached the last-eight at Wimbledon and the US Open. Recent defeats to Serena and Kerber will be a concern, but Halep has had all winter to plot their downfall.

Like Kerber, Garbine Muguruza claimed her first Slam success last year, but the fact it came on the clay in Paris says much.

At 10/1, the Spaniard has yet to prove her quality on hard courts, with her only other notable Slam run being the Wimbledon final in 2015. So this may not be the tournament for the 23-year-old just yet.

Karolina Pliskova will head to Australia in confident fashion, after reaching the US Open final in September.

That run included a semi-final win over Serena, and although the 24-year-old lost to Kerber in the final, victory over the German at the preceding Cincinnati Open makes Pliskova one of the few heading to Australia who has recently defeated the two favourites.

The Czech could be a smart Each-Way punt at 12/1.

Finally, after reaching seven finals last year – winning four of them – Dominika Cibulkova enjoyed arguably her strongest season on the WTA Tour. No player won more tournaments.

An Australian Open finalist in 2014, many may view the 27-year-old as too good to ignore at 25/1, particularly as an Each-Way punt.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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