Picking the winner of the women’s Australian Open is essentially a game of “who will beat Serena Williams” if the betting, which puts her as 2/1 favourite, is anything to go by.
But as the American’s best effort Down Under in the last four years is a measly fourth-round appearance it seems the year’s first Grand Slam is more open than the odds suggest, especially as Li Na, the defending champion and finalist in three of the last four years, has retired.
Here are three outsiders with a real chance of glory this month:
2014 was an outstanding year for the Canadian. She reached two semi-finals and one final during the year’s major tournaments and claimed her first WTA title over the course of the season too.
Having reached the semis from a lowly seeding of 30 last time, Bouchard will certainly fancy her chances of emulating that performance thanks to a favourable sixth seed at this year’s event. She has started 2015 well too with a defeat of Serena Williams in the Hopman Cup.
Like Bouchard, Radwanska is also playing in the Hopman Cup and is unbeaten in her two matches at the time of writing, however her price is slightly longer than her young rival by virtue of her poorer record at the Rod Laver Arena.
Last year’s semi-final appearance is her best effort at the tournament in eight appearances and she has been dumped out before the fourth round on four occasions. However, as her unexpected run to the WTA Finals semis at the end of last year showed, she can’t be written off.
Having reached the final of a WTA event for the first time in two years during 2014, the elder Williams went on to show she is still a force to be reckoned with when her mind is set on the task.
Three silver medals and a victory later, the 34-year-old has been given a handy seeding in Melbourne and is currently tuning up for the event with an impressive showing at the ASB Classic, where she is at the quarter-final stage.
Hers could be a tremendous each-way price if the draw is kind.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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