Join us on our WTA Auckland tournament analysis that takes place this week. Find out who is the undeniable favorite, the main contenders and the highest value tennis picks to place.
Whenever Serena Williams steps on court she's always the main favorite to claim the title. This week in Auckland is no exception with the world no.2 available at -139 at Bet365 to lift the trophy. This is Serena's first career appearance in Auckland with the American very excited for playing in a place where she's never been before.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion shouldn't experience any major issues on her debut against Pauline Parmentier. In the following round Williams might face another American player, Madison Brengle. After winning their previous encounter two years ago in Madrid by 6 – 0 6 – 1, Serena should secure a place in the quarter-finals without any problems.
Looking now to Serena's potential opponents in the quarter-finals, the American might face a player 16 years younger than her – Jelena Ostapenko. Despite Ostapenko's potential, the former junior world no.2 shouldn't find an answer against Williams' firepower.
Lucie Safarova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova are the two main threats on Serena's half. The two Czech players are still looking for their first career win against the American with Williams leading on the h2h by 9 – 0 against Safarova and by 2 – 0 against Strycova.
Due to the easy draw ahead of her, Serena deserves to be the undeniable favorite. With this in mind, our advice is for you to add the 35 years old American to your betting picks to win the 2017 ASB Classic title.
Main Contenders - Two Former World No.1
While Serena is the unquestionable favorite in the top half of the draw, we can't say the same about the bottom half of the draw.
The 2015 WTA Auckland champion – Venus Williams – is the highest ranked player in the bottom half of the draw. After a disappointing first round defeat in the 2016 edition against Darya Kasatkina, Venus is looking for a better performance in her 4th career appearance in Auckland.
Besides Venus, Caroline Wozniacki is the other former world no.1 on the bottom half of the draw. This is also Caroline's 4th career attendance in Auckland with the Danish still looking for her first title in New Zealander soil. After struggling with several physical issues in the first half of 2016, Wozniacki ended the year at a superb level, winning 87.50% of the matches played since the US Open.
The Sportsbooks expect a very close battle between these two with BetVictor offering +800 on Venus' outright while Wozniacki is available at +900 at Bet365. Even though Venus holds the edge with a massive 7 – 0 lead on the h2h, this seems to be a great opportunity for the Danish to feature her first career victory against this opponent. As we mentioned before, Wozniacki ended 2016 at a phenomenal level while Williams only won 5 of her last 10 matches of the year.
Adding to this, it wouldn't be surprising to see Venus losing in the first round with dangerous opponents on her quarter such as Naomi Osaka, Ana Konjuh or the tricky Kirsten Flipkens.
Having said that, our recommendation is for you to back Wozniacki's betting odds since we expect a final between Serena and Caroline, two of the best friends in the tour. Although we don't expect Wozniacki to win the title, placing a bet on her should allow you to trade your position in the later stages of the competition.