Watson and Sharapova left out as Stosur leads Australian Open best bets

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All British eyes will be on Heather Watson on day three of the Australian Open as she faces Ksenia Pervak, while some of the big guns are also in action with Na Li and Maria Sharapova on court in second round action.

However, none of this threesome have made it into our six best bets, which can be clubbed together into an enticing 20/1 Australian Open accumulator.

The biggest game to feature is that of home hope Sam Stosur, who is out to improve on a miserable record in the Grand Slam, having only reached the fourth round twice in 10 attempts.

She faces Jie Zheng next and based on the prior history between the pair, this clash is destined to go to a deciding set.

Four of the last five meetings have needed a third set, including in Sydney earlier this month when Zheng prevailed in three sets.

Even two really tight sets will be enough to see the 20.5-game match handicap covered.

Our only other inclusion from the women’s draw is siding with Julia Goerges to extend her head-to-head record to 4-0 over Romana Oprandi.

In the men’s draw, the biggest banker is Julien Benneteau to come through his all-French encounter with Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

Benneteau has not only won the last two showdowns between the pair, but eased through the opening round in Melbourne in straight sets, while Roger Vasselin took a tense fifth set 11-9 against Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans.

Jurgen Meltzer seems especially generously priced to beat Roberto Bautista-Agut considering he only dropped four games in the first round, while the Spaniard was another who required a deciding set to progress.

Radek Stepanek may be the underdog against Spanish left-hander Feliciano Lopez, but has to be considered given he has won eight of their 10 career meetings.

Finally, Daniel Gimeno-Traver is tipped to take at least one set off Nicolas Almagro.

Only two of Almagro’s last nine Grand Slam wins on hard courts have been 3-0, while Gimeno-Traver was victorious on the only previous occasion he faced Almagro on a surface that wasn’t clay.

Australian Open selections
Julien Benneteau to beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin @ 1/4
Julia Goerges to beat Romina Oprandi @ 4/9
Jurgen Meltzer to beat Roberto Bautista-Agut @ 4/6
Radek Stepanek to beat Feliciano Lopez @ 11/10
Daniel Gimeno-Traver to win at least one set against Nicolas Almagro @ 8/11
Jie Zheng v Sam Stosur to have over 20.5 games @ 5/6

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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.