In-form Azarenka to see off Brit on way to Australian Open victory

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Victoria Azarenka has been supported into 6/1 in the Australian Open odds after enjoying a perfect preparation with victory in the Sydney International.

Azaranka has largely been flying under the radar in the build up to the opening Grand Slam of 2012 and is quietly fancied to go close in Melbourne.

This support has been growing given the injury troubles hampering many of top players in the women’s game, with Azarenka one of a rare few potentially turning up at 100 per cent.

Alongside arriving in a fully fit condition, the state of Azarenka’s game is also in good shape, with her victory over Na Li in the final in Sydney coming after successes over Jelena Jankovic and Marion Bartoli in the same tournament.

Meanwhile, the saying is that all good things come in threes and as well as being in tip top form and good health, the draw in Melbourne also looks relatively kind.

Azarenka should waltz through her quarter, with arguably her only serious competition coming from one of Francesca Schiavone, Yanina Wickmayer or Agnieszka Radwanska.

Britain’s Heather Watson is her first opponent.

This is compared to the top quarter which is loaded with star names and potentially mouth-watering early clashes.

World number one Caroline Wozniacki will have to come through this section to win a first Grand Slam, while Jelena Jankovic, defending champion Kim Clijsters and Na Li are also in this quarter.

Petra Kvitova is the 5/2 favourite to win the Australian Open and will feel that her draw provides a comfortable passage to the latter stages, which is also something that is true of Serena Williams.

Williams is 4/1 to continue her scintillating record in the event and could face Kvitova in the semi finals.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.