Women have best shot of an unlikely home Australian Open winner

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The last local winner of the Australian Open came all the way back in 1978, when the unseeded Chris O’Neil prevailed in the women’s draw over American seventh seed Betsy Nagelsen in straight sets.

Since then, the Australian people have waited patiently to celebrate one of their own winning the first tennis Grand Slam of the year, with 2015 likely to be added to the increasing lack of local victors at the event.

At least this year the country’s two main hopes in the women’s draw are seeded, with Sam Stosur ranked 20th for the tournament and Casey Dellacqua nine spots worse off.

According to the betting, neither player is expected to be in the mix for the title come the final, with Stosur given a 66/1 chance by Ladbrokes and Dellacqua way off the pace at 250/1.

Neither of the home hopefuls have a particular affinity with the tournament and, draw dependant, could be faced with a low seed early on in proceedings.

Stosur, the world number 21 and former US Open champion, has played at the Rod Laver Arena since 2002 but has never made it beyond the fourth round and has bowed out in the third round or earlier in each of the last four editions.

Dellacqua, who is the top seed for the warm up Hobart International this week, has also never made it beyond the fourth round of the tournament, with her run to that point last year equalling her best effort in any Grand Slam in her career.

While the outlook seems bleak for the women, their chances are a damn sight better than those of the men.

Nick Kyrgios, of Rafael Nadal-slaying fame, is the highest hope according to Ladbrokes at 66/1 but has only featured at the Australian Open twice and has a best finish of the second round.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.