Sharapova To Shine On In Melbourne
Women's Australian Open
Serena Williams heads the betting for the 2015 Women’s Australian Open at 11/4 but can she win back the title she last held in 2010?
The Australian Open comes early in the calendar year and that means not every player has had the chance to get into top form after their winter break, although the women’s singles event has tended to be more predictable than the men’s. Martina Hingis, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles have each won three consecutive titles and Serena Williams holds the Open-era record with five victories.
Hard courts are said to combine the attributes of clay and grass, but not all hard courts are the same, in fact, there is a wide variation between the different types. The Plexicushion surface at Melbourne Park is rated as Medium-Fast by the ITF, faster than the Deco Turf material used at the US Open, and last year the courts were said to have been at their fastest since the old Rebound Ace surface was replaced in 2008, which gives the bigger servers plenty to work with.
Who To Avoid
It almost goes without saying that opposing Serena Williams in a Grand Slam event is a risky business, but in recent years, she seems to have found it hard to peak in time for this early season Slam. One quarter final since 2010 is a poor return by her standards, and a further concern this year is her patchy form since returning from her winter break. At odds of 9/4 I think we can take her on in Melbourne.
Maria Sharapova’s comeback from a shoulder injury last year was spectacular, and she ended 2014 with the world number two ranking. Her poor record against Serena Williams means she rarely goes into any Grand Slam as favourite, but the American’s recent tendency to depart early from this event means Sharapova may not have to face her at any stage.
She goes into the tournament in strong form, having picked up her thirty-fourth title in Brisbane and at 5/1 she’s a solid bet in Melbourne.
Eugenie Bouchard made an eye-catching run to the semi-finals in Melbourne last year, and went on to make the last four in Paris and the Wimbledon final. Her form tailed off in the second half of 2014, but she starts the year in the top ten with plenty of potential for further improvement. Her aggressive style makes her a tough opponent and she should give you a good run for your money at odds of 11/1.
Having won her first WTA title in 2007, Agnieszka Radwanksa is yet to win a Grand Slam, but she can put that right in 2015. Having hired Martina Navratilova as her coach in the off season, she kicked off the new year with her first ever win over Serena Williams in the Hopman Cup, and that should give her a boost ahead of a tournament in which she reached the semi-finals last year. Back her each way at 20/1