No early Australian Open drama for Petra Kvitova and Serena Williams

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The two favourites to win the women’s tournament both get their Australian Open campaign up and running on day two, while there are generous odds offered on Maria Kirilenko disappointing the locals…

Petra Kvitova to beat Vera Dushevina @ 1/33

The second seed and 5/2 frontrunner to take the title is hugely fancied to win her opening match against an opponent who, after wowing on one of her first trips to Melbourne in 2005, has got beyond round one just once since.

Kvitova was stunned on day one at the US Open by Alexandra Dulgheru but is usually a strong starter, reaching the final 16 of the other three Grand Slams without dropping a set. The Wimbledon champion is 3/1 to land the first set 6-2.

Serena Williams to beat Tamira Paszek @ 1/25

2011 saw Serena go a whole year without lifting a Grand Slam trophy for only the third time in a decade, yet she is 4/1 to end her mini-drought at the Australian Open, having triumphed on five of her last seven appearances down under.

Even though the American hasn’t enjoyed much recent success, there is no disputing the 1/25 on her beating Paszek, as she has never lost at the first round of a major. Given that record, consider odds of evens on the first set having under 8.5 games.

Maria Kirilenko to beat Jarmila Gajdosova @ 8/11

The 27th seed is surprisingly close to the evens mark for her first-round encounter against Bratislava-born Australian Gajdosova, with hometown support for the outsider perhaps expected to render this a difficult task for the Russian.

However, Gajdosova has lost at this stage in each of the last seven years – despite claiming a set on five of those occasions – and with Kirilenko bowing out this early only once since 2005, there is a solid case for backing the attractively-priced favourite.

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