Australian Open 2016 - WTA Draw Review and Predictions

João Mourato

Saturday, January 16, 2016 12:16 AM GMT

Join us while we analyze Australian Open Women Draw. Find out the main contenders, the player to keep an eye on and the highest value tennis bets for this event.

Australian Open
The Australian Open takes place in Melbourne and will be played on Hard Court

 

Top Half of the Draw
The start of 2016 was far from easy for Serena Williams, with the world no.1 retiring from Hopman Cup due to a knee injury, which result in a huge increase on her tennis odds. The American said she’s fully recovered from that problem and ready to defend the title, but obviously she would never admit if she was still struggling with that problem. Williams starts her campaign against Camila Giorgi, the Italian is always a very dangerous opponent and this will be a very good match to assess Serena’s physical condition and game level. If Serena shows up at good level, she shouldn’t experience many problems until the 4th round, where she might face Caroline Wozniacki. Caroline is a good friend of Serena and she doesn’t seem to have the proper competitive mindset that is required to defeat Williams. Maria Sharapova might be the following opponent on quarterfinals, but the Russian’s last victory over Serena was in 2004, losing the last 17 matches between them. Sharapova always gives a good fight to Serena, but the American has a huge mental edge over Maria.

The two highest ranked players that might play against Serena on semifinals are Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova. Petra is an extremely dangerous player with a tremendous firepower, however the Czech always struggled with the hot conditions in Melbourne and after her recent retirements is quite unlikely to see her reaching the later stages of this event. Radwanska started the year at good level, winning WTA Shenzhen trophy, but the Polish only reached Australian Open semifinals one time on her career. If Agnieszka gets there, she might be once again overplayed by Serena’s firepower, but we may see a surprise on this quarter.

 

Bottom Half of the Draw
Simona Halep is the highest ranked on bottom half of the draw, however she has been struggling with an Achilles injury. Despite those physical problems, the Romanian decided to play in Sydney, where she reached the semifinals, but that may have aggravated her physical condition. Adding to this, Simona still doesn’t seem to have the proper mindset to win a Grand Slam event. Last year she was surprised by Ekaterina Makarova on quarterfinals, in a match where she was the big favorite, but after that defeat she said she was already very happy for reaching that stage of the competition – which is an unacceptable mentality for a top 3 player.

The two-time Australian Open champion, Victoria Azarenka, is the main favorite to win the bottom half of the draw. After struggling in 2015 with several physical problems, Azarenka started the season at great level, winning the WTA Brisbane title. Victoria has a very competitive quarter, where she might face dangerous players like Garbine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber. Both can give a good fight to the Belarussian; however, Azarenka’s high intensity and tremendous ball striking skills should be too much for Garbine and Angelique.

With Halep far from her best, Azarenka might face an outsider on semifinals like Ekaterina Makarova or Karolina Pliskova. Both are very dangerous players, especially Makarova who always plays outstanding tennis in Melbourne. The Russian even won the last two matches against Azarenka, but this tournament is Victoria’s opportunity to regain her status as one of the best in the world.

We might have a very interesting final between Serena and Azarenka. Victoria’s outstanding counter punching skills and mental strength make her the toughest opponent Serena has faced in recent year. It should be a very close final, but due to Serena’s recent physical issues, the value is clearly on Azarenka.

 

Player to keep an eye on
It was a great start of season for Sloane Stephens, with the world no. 26 winning WTA Auckland. Sloane is a very talented player, with a powerful serve and blistering groundstrokes. Stephens is on the 2nd quarter, where she might face Radwanska on 4th round. The Polish leads h2h 4 – 0, however Sloane was always able to give a very good fight, winning a set in three of those four meetings. Stephens already reached the semifinals of this event in 2013 and if she keeps the level of tennis from Auckland, she has clear chances of repeating that result.    

 

Best Plays
After analyzing the draw, we advise to add to your tennis picks the following bets:

Free Tennis Pick: Victoria Azarenka to Reach the Final (+150)
Best Line Offered: at bet365

Free Tennis Pick: Sloane Stephens to Win 2nd Quarter (+600)
Best Line Offered: at bet365