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WTA & ATP Weekly Tennis Betting Preview and Predictions – 19th March, 2018

Tennis Betting

WTA Miami Winner Odds and Preview

Straight after Indian Wells, it is on to Miami for the second Premier mandatory event of the year. There was a surprise victory at the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) over the weekend as Japan’s Naomi Osaka took the title over Daria Kasatkina. Osaka had taken out top seed Simona Halep in her semi-final and Ksatkina upset the books as well in beating out Venus Williams in her semi-final. That was after getting past Angelique Kerber along the way along the way, as well as other former Slam champions in Sloane Stephens and Caroline Wozniacki. Osaka opens in Miami against Serena Williams in a blockbuster first-round showdown. Williams did play in Indian Wells but was ousted by her sister Venus in the quarter finals. Williams is unseeded because of her time away for having her baby, and Victoria Azarenka is in there as a wildcard like Serena Williams as well. Williams goes in the third quarter which could set up a tough clash against Elina Svitolina in the second round if she sees off Osaka. Williams, who has won Miami eight times before in her career, probably needs another couple of tournaments to get back to the top of her game, which is understandable and is 14/1 odds* (betting odds taken on March 19th, 2018 at 10:24 p.m.) at Ladbrokes to win this. The third quarter also houses Jelena Ostapenko Petra Kvitova, Daria Kasatkina and Kristina Mladenovic so there’s no easy path from that quarter for anyone. Australian Open champ Carolina Wozniacki (last year’s Miami runner-up) is the second seed and down in the fourth section with a much easier draw. That along with her current good form this season leaves her at 10/1 odds with Ladbrokes* (betting odds taken on March 19th, 2018 at 10:24 p.m.). She could meet Jo Konta in the quarters, but the Brit hasn't brought her game this season. She is the reigning champion here though. Simona Halep, who is the outright favourite, will be glad to avoid all of that congestion in the bottom half of the draw as she is the top seed and looks pretty much a lock for the quarters. She will be pumped up after that shock loss against Osaka at Indian Wells last week with the title beckoning. Karolina Pliskova, who looked better last week than she has done all season could be a quarter-final opponent for Halep. The second quarter houses Angelique Kerber, Garbine Muguruza and Caroline Garcia as the main threats.

Prediction

It’s a mammoth draw and fascinating clash ups waiting wherever you look. The WTA is immensely competitive at the moment. Based on the draw, Simona Halep is going to be the one to ride this week, while Angelique Kerber at 8/1 odds with Ladbrokes* (betting odds taken on March 19th, 2018 at 10:24 p.m.) is a good each way shot behind her and looks a great option for a quarter-final berth at least. The bottom half of the draw is an absolute minefield for everyone there, no-one is getting out lightly. Of the main contenders, Wozniacki probably could edge in terms of an easier draw.

WTA Miami Winner Odds

Simona Halep 15/2, Angelique Kerber 8/1, Caroline Wozniacki 10/1, Elina Svitolina 10/1, Daria Kasatkina 12/1, Garbine Muguruza 12/1, Petra Kvitova 14/1, Serena Williams 14/1, Karolina Pliskova 16/1, Naomi Osaka 20/1, Venus Williams 22/1, Johanna Konta 25/1, Madison Keys 25/1, 33/1 bar* (betting odds taken on March 19th, 2018 at 10:24 p.m.)

ATP Miami Winner Odds & Preview

Well, Roger Federer is human after all. He had his perfect 2018 snapped on the weekend when he lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the final of Indian Wells. Those are the two heading up the ATP Miami market at Unibet this week as well, the only two players in single fixtures actually heading into the event. Excitingly they have been drawn in the opposite halves of the Miami draw too. Federer blew three match points to win Indian Wells before being unable to stop Delpo’s comeback and the two could be back across the net from each other in the final of Miami. Federer is the 5/4 outright favourite* (betting odds taken on March 19th, 2018 at 10:27 p.m.) at Unibet to win this one with Delpo at 3/1 odds* (betting odds taken on March 19th, 2018 at 10:27 p.m.). It’s probably not worth looking past those. You can skip Federer ahead to the quarters where there could be a tricky challenge from someone like Alexander Zverev, Kyle Edmund or Tomas Berdych. Del Potro has only been past the round of sixteen once before in Miami and after his exhaustive efforts last week, it may be a big ask for him to double up. He has a much tougher draw to get through, including a potential showdown against Novak Djokovic at the round of sixteen. It may well be worth opposing Del Porto getting to the final with Marin Cilic. The Croatian went home earlier from Indian Wells so has had plenty of prep and rest time ahead of this. He is the one most likely to pull through and get somewhere close to challenging Federer in the final if the Swiss master awaits. At 20/1 each way odds at Unibet* (betting odds taken on March 19th, 2018 at 10:27 p.m.) Cilic is a big appealing bet this week on the ATP. Roger Federer 5/4, Juan Martin Del Potro 3/1, Novak Djokovic 13/1, Grigor Dimitrov 178/1, David Goffin 20/1, Marin Cilic 20/1, Hyeon Chung 25/1, Kevin Anderson 25/1, 30/1 bar* (betting odds taken on March 19th, 2018 at 10:24 p.m.)

Predictions

Federer will have been in a reflective mood after losing to Delpo on the weekend and uncharacteristic wasting of three match points. He’s a perfectionist and will want more in Miami and he’s well worth backing to get into the winner's circle. With Djokovic still working his way back, Dimitrov disappointing last week, and Del Potro not having any form at this event, Cilic is great value.
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WTA & ATP Weekly Tennis Betting Preview and Predictions – 26th February, 2018

Tennis Betting
ATP Dubai takes centre stage on the ATP Tour this weekend and there is a good chance to get on the side of the outright favourite who is Grigor Dimitrov at 11/4 odds with Coral* (betting odds taken at 7:48 p.m. on January 26th, 2018). The World Number four carries a W10 L3 match record into the tournament for 2018 as he goes in search of his first title this year. He has a bit of form though having gone to the quarters of the Australian Open and then to the final of Rotterdam where he lost out to Roger Federer. He has to have his first title this year in his sights here. His main challenger will be Lucas Pouille who went to the final of Marseille last weekend following up a title run in Montpellier so the Frenchman is carrying some great form with him at the moment. Whoever gets through the field this week, there will be a first-time winner at the event.

ATP Dubai Winner Odds*

Grigor Dimitrov 11/4, Lucas Pouille 13/2, Richard Gasquet 8/1, Roberto Bautista Agut 9/1, Karen Khachanov 15/2, 18/1 bar* (betting odds taken at 7:48 p.m. on January 26th, 2018) Acapulco has a pretty stacked field this week which is being headed up by Rafael Nadal. He was the runner-up last season at the tournament and this will be his first match back since the Australian Open. Nadal had to retire in the quarter finals of Melbourne through injury but has said that he is back fit and raring to go. He has an extra incentive too having just lost the World Number One spot to Roger Federer. Nadal is the 9/4 outright favourite at Coral* (betting odds taken at 7:48 p.m. on January 26th, 2018) but there are some stiff challenges coming in. The field is pretty stacked actually with Juan Martin del Potro, Alexander Zverev, Kevin Anderson and Dominic Thiem in there, as well as reigning champions Sam Querrey. So how to sort through that lot? The experienced Anderson is a little too short of a price to back, as is the 2016 Champion Dominic Thiem who hasn’t quite looked on top of his game for a while. So the field is narrowed a bit. Alexander Zverev should be a big threat and there is potentially epic semi-finals between himself and Del Potro coming down the line. Nadal has won this a couple of times before, but with question marks over his full fitness still he could be vulnerable at the end of the tournament and Alexander Zverev looks value to land the title.

Abierto Mexicano Telcel Open Winner Odds*

Rafael Nadal 9/4, Juan Martín del Potro 13/2, Alexander Zverev 6/1, Kevin ANderson 11/1, Dominic Thiem 11/1, Kei Nishikori 14/1, Sam Querrey 14/1, 20/1 bar* (betting odds taken at 7:48 p.m. on January 26th, 2018) It is a fairly quiet week on the WTA where only the Abierto Mexicano Telcel is going off. There are no players from the world’s top ten taking part in this one, but there is still an interesting draw which Sloane Stephens and Kristina Mladenovic really heads up. Aside from a run to the final of St Petersburg, Mladenovic really hasn’t shown up this season. Stephens has played only two matches this season and has lost them both. So it is really worth avoiding both of them. It is a wide open field, so we will side with the experience of Shuai Zhang who is in the same half of Stephens, but has beaten her already this season goes as a good 9/1 option at Coral* (betting odds taken at 7:48 p.m. on January 26th, 2018). But Belinda Bencic who is arguably the most talented player in the entire draw but has not played much at all this year could really be the biggest threat in the field. Belinda Bencic 11/2, Sloane Stephens 8/1, Shuai Zhang 9/1, Alize Cornet 12/1, Dair Gaviolva 12/1, Kristina Mladenovic 14/1, Monica Puig 14/1, Heather Watson 16/1, 20/1 bar* (betting odds taken at 7:48 p.m. on January 26th, 2018)
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WTA & ATP Weekly Tennis Betting Preview and Predictions – 19th February, 2018

Tennis Betting

ATP Rio Open

After an astonishing week in which Roger Federer became the old man to ever hold down the number one spot in the world in the Open Era after taking a title win at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, things are dialled back a little bit this week. He takes a backseat this week with a well-earned rest after breaking more records in what has been simply an astonishing comeback from the legend. There are three ATP World Tour titles up for grabs this week and the highest ranking of them is in Brazil at the Rio Open. There is a strong bit of favouritism to look at as well in this one, which is part of the ‘Golden Swing” of South America and the field is headed up by Marin Cilic. This is the first time that the Croatian has played in the tournament and despite a potential early clash against Frenchman Gael Monfils in the quarter finals, Cilic looks fairly unopposed in the top half of the draw. Cilic is just one of two players taking part in the tournament who are currently sitting inside the top ten in the world rankings at the moment. The other is Dominic Thiem, who as second seed goes in the opposite half of the draw. He actually has a slightly better track record in 2018 than Cilic does, as the Austrian has gone W12 L1 heading into the season, collecting a title already. Cilic is going into Rio on the back of a W8 L2 record for the season without a title, but he is currently ranked third in the world, the highest that he has ever been. Cilic was the one who fell to Roger Federer in the final of the Australian Open while Theim couldn’t make it past the round of sixteen. Thiem's title for the season came on the weekend as he cruised to the Argentina Open win, taking down former British player Aljaz Bedene in the final. There is a decent chance that Cilic and Thiem will be meeting up in the final and that would be just the second game between them. Thiem won the previous meeting which was in the Brisbane quarter finals a couple of years ago. It is always a risk trying to get behind players to win back to back titles, but Thiem has a good shot here. His title in Argentina last week was on clay, just as Rio is and Cilic hasn’t been out on the surface this term. Back the young Austrian.

ATP Rio Open Winner Odds*

Dominic Thiem 5/2, Marin Cilic 5/1, Gael Monfils 9/1, Diego Schwartzman 12/1, Pablo Busta 12/1, Fabio Fognini 12/1, Fernando Verdasco, bar 16/1* (betting odds taken at 6:50 p.m. on February 19th, 2018).

WTA Dubai Duty Free

Some of the game’s heavy hitter on the women’s side are out for the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships this week, which is a Premier event. This should be a good one as well and it is Elina Svitolina who is heading back there as the reigning champion and 6/1 joint-favourite at Betfred* (betting odds taken at 6:50 p.m. on February 19th, 2018), and she will be pretty pleased with the section she has been drawn in to. She should run unopposed to the semi finals you would think, especially with eighth seed Kristina Mladenovic losing her opener and that was Svitolina's toughest opponent she could have potentially faced in the draw. At the semi final stage though in the top half of the draw is where things are really going to be lighting up. In the second quarter, there could be a huge tussle between Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals to then go on and meet up with reigning champion Svitolina. Of the two of them, you would probably have to swing with Germany’s Kerber who has been going so well in 2018 and the same can’t be said of Pliskova, who is just struggling to bring her consistent a-game. Jo Konta is out in action for Britain but she looks as if she really needs more tournaments under her belt on her journey back from injury. She could meet up with Jelena Ostapenko in the quarter finals which would be an interesting clash between the seventh and fourth seeds respectively. Like Konta, Ostapenko has had her injury issues and is working her way back to the top of her game. Then in the final quarter goes Garbine Muguruza who blasted her way to the final of the Qatar Total Open on the weekend, only to lose there against Petra Kvitova who has been carrying some form this term. So it is a really stacked draw and we are going to roll with the grit and quality of Angelique Kerber to come through the field. Last season at this event she lost out to Svitolina in the semi final stage and there could be a big rematch at the same stage this time around. Kerber just the looks the stronger of the two at the moment. Muguruza will have been pleased with her work in Qatar last week, but it was a long week and we are going to roll with Konta to string something together here from the bottom half. Konta has won the one previous match that she has had against Ostapenko and so could pull through that potential quarter final match here and that should steel her for a good run to the final as an each way option at Betfred.

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship Winner Odds*

Angelique Kerber 6/1, Elina Svitolina 6/1, Garbine Muguruza 6/1, Karolina Pliskova 7/1, Caroline Garcia 14/1, Jelena Ostapenko 18/1, Elise Mertens 22/1, bar 28/1* (betting odds taken at 6:50 p.m. on February 19th, 2018).
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WTA & ATP Weekly Tennis Betting Preview and Predictions

Tennis Betting
It is the first WTA Premier 5 event of the new season as Qatar Total Open fires up this week. All but one of the top ten are set for appearances in the Doha field and extra some extra spice to proceedings is that the number one spot is up for grabs once again. Current number one Caroline Wozniacki will be hoping to hold off challenger Simona Halep but the Dane has a tough road ahead of her at the tournament.

Doha Each Way Options

Immediately off the bat, largely because of injuries and not having gotten their seasons up and running yet so far in 2018, Jelena Ostapenko, Garbine Muguruza and Johanna Konta are all worth a pass in this one. That narrows things down just a little bit. Karolina Pliskova is another one who is under a bit of pressure to perform but she should be fresh as this is her first game back since losing to Halep in the Australian Open quarters. The best each way options for the tournament are Julia Goerges and Elina Svitolina at 22/1 and 12/1 respectively at Unibet* (betting odds taken January 12th, 2018 at 00:55 a.m.). Svitolina is the reigning champion here and this is the event that twelve months ago, really put her on the map. An injury ruined her Grand Slam run in Melbourne, but if she’s back fit she will contend. Julia Goerges continued her great form this year with a run to the semi-finals in St Petersburg recently. She’s up in the top ten now for the first time in her career and has some momentum.    

Kerber to contend

Angelique Kerber is back to her very best and she is the one who can take the shine off both Wozniacki and Halep. She has been outstanding so far this season and is looking for her second title this year and no-one is going to want to face the German at the moment. Wozniacki was stopped in the quarter finals in St Petersburg as expected after her epic Grand Slam win in Melbourne, while Halep has been to the final of both tournaments played this year. There’s some big in-form players around at the moment including Petra Kvitova who came from nowhere to land the St Petersburg title recently. Overall though it is main contender Halep who has the best-looking draw ahead of her as Wozniacki and Kerber could clash in the quarters with potentially Svitolina lurking at the semi-final stage. Halep shouldn’t have as many challenges and can power her way to a victory.

Qatar Open Odds*

Angelique Kerber 6/1, Simona Halep 7/1, Petra Kvitova 9/1, Caroline Wozniacki 12/1, Garbine Muguruza 9/1, Karolina Pliskova 11/1, Elina Svitolina 12/1, Maria Sharapova 13/1, Madison Keys 20/1, bar 22/1* (betting odds taken January 12th, 2018 at 00:55 a.m.).

Federer headlines Rotterdam

There are some minor tournaments knocking around the ATP this week with the New York Open and the Argentina Open both 250 World Tour Events. It leaves the ATP World Tour 500 tournament in Rotterdam as the headlining act. 2017 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is back to defend his title. However, everyone else is going to be overshadowed by the appearance of Roger Federer in the draw who has to reach the semi-finals to remarkably get back to number one in the world. Both Federer (2012) and Wawrinka (2015) are previous winners of the event. Interestingly Federer could face his fellow Swiss competition Stan Wawrinka in the quarter finals. Alex Zverev is in the top half of draw and could be a decent semi final punt if he can get up ahead of steam which has been lacking a little bit this year from him. Down in bottom half the draw, things are headed up by second seed Grigor Dimitrov who has a pretty handy run ahead of him. There could be a tricky quarter final scrap against Lucas Pouille, but other than that it should be plain sailing for Dimitrov. The top half of the draw is going to be the toughest to come through so things favour Dimitrov a bit in this one and the Bulgarian looks handy value to Reach the Final with Unibet for the Rotterdam event. Given the class that Federer has though plus the incentive of getting back to world number one, it would surprise exactly zero people if Feds won it.
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WTA & ATP Tennis Weekly Betting Preview and Predictions

Tennis Betting
So the Australian Open is in the bag and Women’s winner Caroline Wozniacki is scheduled to put in an immediate appearance out in St Petersburg this week. Maybe she hadn't really planned on going the distance in Melbourne? Anyway, she is the 11/2 favourite at bet365* (Betting Odds took on January 29th, 2018 at 7:03 p.m.) to go and follow up her first Grand Slam title with a success at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy this week. However, there should be plenty of value in actually opposing her this week. You could see in her Australian Open Final just how much the tournament and it’s crazy temperatures had taken out of her. Both Wozniacki and Halep were feeling the heat badly and to immediately turn around after such an exhausting and emotional fortnight and be expected to win another tournament is a bit of a big ask. At short odds, Wozniakci certainly isn’t worth taking a look at particularly in this one. So where could value lie? Kristina Mladenovic is the main player opposing Wozniacki in the top half of the draw. The French woman is the reigning champion at the tournament as well and we like that bit of tournament history to get behind her. She is a big old 18/1 price at bet365* (Betting Odds taken on January 29th, 2018 at 7:03 p.m.) though to win this, but that leaves her at great each way value to at least reach the final. If Mladenovic can negotiate the way past the second round where she could have a scrap against Dominika Cibulkova, there’s no reason why she can’t reach the showcase match from the top half of the table. Down in the bottom half of the draw there is Julia Goerges, Caroline Garcia and Jelena Ostapenko all with a decent amount of equal appeal to make a run. Of them, Goerges is the one with the better form in the new year having claimed a title already. But young Ostapenko is worth a look here at 8/1 odds at bet365* (Betting Odds taken on January 29th, 2018 at 7:03 p.m.) to win the tournament. That will be based on the dynamics of the draw. She has such an easy quarter to get through as it contained three wild cards and a lucky loser, that the young Latvian could make a decent run in the tournament.

WTA St Petersburg Ladies Tennis betting odds

Caroline Wozniacki 11/2, Julia Goerges 11/2, caroline Garcia 7/1, Petra Kvitova 7/1, Jelena Ostapenko 8/1, Dominika Cibulkova 14/1, Katerina Siniakova 14/1, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 18/1, Daria Kasatkina 18/1, 25/1 bar There is nothing happening on the ATP Tour this week as the first round of the 2018 Davis Cup is played on February 2nd through to the 4th. Great Britain will be starting as third seeds for this years even and they have a tricky opener against Spain out in Marbella on the clay. At least they won’t have to face the injured Rafael Nadal anyway.
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Jo Konta Australian Open 2018 Odds drift after tough draw

Tennis Betting
Britain’s Johanna Konta saw the odds on her making a title run in Melbourne this season, drift after the announcement of the draw for the Australian Open. Konta opens against World Number 92 Madison Brengle and while there is a vast gap between the two players in the World Rankings, Brengle has won three of the four previous battles that she and Konta have had on the court. Konta did win the most recent clash though in 2016. But that is the tip of the iceberg only for Jo Konta's Australian Open challenge because she has received a really tough draw. As early as the fourth round she could run head first into Karolina Pliskova, one of the tournament favourites and if she were to get through that then it would set up a clash against another tournament favourite, World Number One Simona Halep in the quarter finals. So there’s no easy path to success at the Australian Open 2018 for Konta. Subsequently, she had drifted out to 25/1 at Paddy Power* (Betting Odds taken from January 12th, 2018 at 2.08 am) on Friday morning, the action in the main draw starting on Monday, January 15th. Konta does have a good track record in Melbourne recently though as she has been to the quarter finals and the semi finals in her last two appearances at the Australian Open. She is going to have her work cut out for her in this one though. Heather Watson is the only other Brit in the main Women’s draw although Naomi Broady is battling through the qualifying to try and get there. Watson gets to take on Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in her first round match, her opponent 24th places higher than Watson is in the World Rankings. Over on the men’s side, Kyle Edmund is the only Briton in the draw and he meets up with 11th seed Kevin Anderson in the first round.

Women’s Australian Open 2018 Odds*

Simona Halep 8/1, Elina Svitolina 9/1, Karolina Pliskova 8/1, Caroline Wozniacki 9/1, Angelique Kerber 10/1, Garbine Muguruza 11/1, Maria Sharapova 12/1, Madison Keys 14/1, Petra Kvitova 20/1, Coco Vandeweghe 22/1, Julia Goerges 22/1, Johanna Konta 25/1, Venus Williams 25/1 * (Betting Odds taken from January 12th, 2018 at 2.08 am)
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Australian Open Betting 2018 Women – Winner Odds & Predictions

Tennis Betting
The action in Melbourne begins on January 15th and the notable absentee, of course, is reigning champion, Serena Williams. Without the American, the field will be wide open as the players descend on Melbourne Park this month. This is the opening Grand Slam event of the year and it is notable that prize monies are shared equally at the tournament between men and women. Serena Williams has not returned to defend her title after having given birth to her daughter in September last year. Former champion Victoria Azarenka is not at the event either because of custody issues with her child which is preventing her from leaving California. So that is the loss of a couple of big names. Romanian Simona Halep goes into the tournament as the number one seed, but five players behind her are waiting to pounce and take over at the top. Caroline Wozniacki and Elina Svitolina would have to get to the semi-finals to be in with a chance of taking over as World Number One, while Garbine Muguruza has to get to the final, while Karolina Pliskova and Jelena Ostapenko would have to win the event to get to the top of the rankings. Australian Open 2018 Women Infographic

Reigning Champion

Serena Williams is the reigning Australian Open Champion and she broke Steffi Graf’s all-time record of Grand Slam victories in the Open era by getting her 23rd last January in Melbourne. That was her seventh Australian Open title and it was the only tournament that Serena Williams entered in 2017 as well. We haven't seen her since in competitive action.

Australian Open betting Odds*

Karolina Pliskova 8/1, Garbine Muguruza 8/1, Simona Halep 8/1, Elina Svitolina 10/1, Maria Sharapova 11/1, Caroline Wozniacki 11/1, Angelique Kerber 14/1, Petra Kvitova 16/1, Julia Goerges 16/1, Johanna Konta 20/1, Madison Keys 20/1, Venus Williams 22/1, Coco Vandeweghe 25/1, Caroline Garcia 25/1, Belinda Bencic 25/1, Jelena Ostapenko 25/1, bar 28/1* (Betting Odds taken January 8th, 2018 at 2.41 am)

Qualification

The top 32 players taking part from the World Rankings will be the seeded players at the draw. The top two seeds will be split into the separate halves, so Simona Halep goes right at the top of the draw and second seed Caroline Wozniacki is at the very bottom of the bottom half of the draw. There is a selection committee that hands out eight wildcard entries to the tournament as well. Plus there is a full qualifying draw for the Women’s singles too with twelve places up for grabs and each qualifier from that will have to have come through three matches successfully to make the main draw.

The Draw

Top Sixteen Seeds by Draw Section Top Half Section 1 Seeds: Simona Halep (1), Elena Vesnina (16) Section 2 Seeds: Jo Konta (9), Karolina Pliskova (6) Section 3 Seeds: Garbine Muguruza (3), Anastasija Sevastova (14) Section 4 Seeds: Kristina Mladenovic (11), Caroline Garcia (8) Bottom Half Section 5 Seeds: Venus Williams (5), Julia Goerges (12) Section 6 Seeds: Sloane Stephens (13), Elina Svitolina (4) Section 7 Seeds: Jelena Ostapenko (7), Coco Vandeweghe (10) Section 8 Seeds: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (15), Caroline Wozniacki (2) As the top two seeds, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki respectively, will be kept apart in the draw until the final. The top half of the draw at the Australian Open looks the most difficult because you have the likes of Halep, Konta, Pliskova and Muguruza all in there. That top quarter which has Halep, Pliskova and Konta is going to be a huge battle and whoever comes through that is going to really have their work cut out for them. With that said Garbine Muguruza, who would be a semi final opponent for whoever gets through that top section, has a couple of tricky opponents, notably French battler Caroline Garcia and young star Anastasija Sevastova. So the bottom half of the draw looks wide, wide open for anyone to make a decent run at the final. That is where Julia Goerges could come into play if she backs up her early season consistently. But the biggest benefactor of the draw really is Elina Svitolina who will really fancy her chances against what could lie ahead of her. Second seed Wozniacki won’t be quaking in her boots really either. Coming through hat bottom half of the draw with less hard, competitive action could prove crucial in the latter stages.

Seedings Top 8

  1. Simona Halep
  2. Caroline Wozniacki
  3. Garbine Muguruza
  4. Elina Svitolina
  5. Venus Williams
  6. Karolina Pliskova
  7. Jelena Ostapenko
  8. Caroline Garcia

Contenders

Heading up the market are Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza, who are both looking for their first ever Australian Open Grand Slam titles. Muguruza does have two other Grand Slam titles to her name during her career while Pliskova is still waiting to land her first. These are two very good players and of the two you would probably favour Pliskova at the 5/1 odds with William Hill* (Betting Odds taken January 8th, 2018 at 2.39 am) to go the further of the two on the hard court. Pliskova reached the quarter finals here last year and overall has reached the quarters at least in four of her last five Grand Slam appearances. The former World Number One looked a little tired towards the end of last season, so should be fresher off the blocks and went to the semis of Auckland as a warm-up. Muguruza also went to the quarter finals of the Australian Open last year and despite perhaps not having been as consistent in Slams as Pliskova has been, the Spaniard has won a Grand Slam in each of the last two seasons, the French Open in 2016 and last year’s Wimbledon. Simona Halep is looking for her first career Grand Slam title and there will be more pressure on her going as the World Number One now. She has been one of those frustrating players who go into the big tournaments as a strong option but just cannot quite get over the line. She has been to at least the quarter finals in four of her last six Grand Slam events but that big win keeps eluding her and it may be down to mental focus. She warmed up with a title at the Shenzhen Open. She is aggressive and will take this one, but her biggest slam chance will come in Paris. Britain’s Jo Konta has been flying under the radar a bit in the build-up to the Australian Open 2018 and maybe that will help her. There's probably not a gutsier player on the tour than her, and we saw on her run to the Wimbledon semi-final last year how well that she can fight. However, she does find herself in situations where she gets herself down, especially against lower ranked scrappy players. She needs her first serve going well and has been the semi-final and then the quarter-final in Melbourne in the last two years. Not a bad track record and has to at least target the last eight again. Elina Svitolina, who has no track record at the Australian Open, started the season with a bang by winning the Brisbane International, where she beat Pliskova along the way and that will have done her confidence the world of good. She doesn't have the most powerful of serves compared to those around her at the top of the game, but looks great value and fresh again at the start of the year. Caroline Garcia ran into some hot form at the back end of the year, including winning her first Premier Mandatory title and there will be increased pressure on her to step it up at a Slam. Young Latvian Jelena Ostapenko made headlines last year with her win at the French Open before getting to the quarters of Wimbledon as well. This is a player who is absolutely fearless and that makes her dangerous, but she will be stronger in Paris and London probably again than on the two hard court Slams. Then there is the evergreen Venus Williams who reached the final here last year before falling to her sister. She also reached the final of Wimbledon and the semi finals of the US Open as well last year. What will she have in her this season? Maria Sharapova, the 2008 Australian Open Champion doesn't have a bad track record in Melbourne, but maybe needs another solid season behind her to get close to another Slam title and like Halep, her best shot will come at the French Open.

Outsider

Julia Goerges fits the bill here. The German didn’t go well last season in the Grand Slams at all, but things could be different this time around. That is because she will be one of the top sixteen seeds in Melbourne and that projects an easier path for her. Last year she ended on a nine-match winning streak with two tails and rattled straight back into form this season with a win in Auckland for her third title on the bounce as she knocked off Caroline Wozniacki. She could turn up in great form and no-one will want to meet her early based on all of that.

Prediction

Elina Svitolina looks tremendous value in what is a wide open field. There are question marks over the likes of Muguruza and Halep, so there is an appeal to look a little bit longer. No-one won more titles last season than Svitolina and after the strong start to the season, she could be ready to step it up in a Slam. Pliskova is likely to be the strongest of the front runners on the hard court, but Svitolina is there at the moment and she’s a good each way bet with William Hill at 10/1* (Betting Odds taken January 8th, 2018 at 2.39 am) at least and our long shot full falls on Goerges.
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Fed Cup Tennis Final 2017 Winner Odds & Predictions

Tennis Betting
The final of the Fed Cup is being played over the weekend of November 11th-12th and it will feature the USA v Belarus. This is the culmination of the yearly tournament which started at the quarter final stage back in February. The semi finals were them completed in April and it’s been a long wait now for the final to come around. The USA are 2/9 odds on favourites to win the title, with Belarus at 13/5 with Paddy Power. The Final is being hosted in Belarus and it features the home nation who are ranked second in the ITF Rankings, taking on the USA who are one place beneath them. Both have seen significant rises in the table at the expense of France and Switzerland having slipped back. Belarus beat Switzerland in the semi finals after the Swiss had taken down France in a heavyweight quarter final clash. Belarus had to see off fourth seeds Netherlands in their opener before meeting the French and now get a shot at the USA. The USA took out third seeds Germany easily in the quarter finals, before having a tough battle to get past the top seeds the Czech Republic in the semi finals.

Fed Cup Tennis Final 2017 Team Selections

Because of personal problems, Belarus’s top player Victoria Azarenka can’t play in the finals because she isn’t able to leave home in California at the moment because of a custody issue over her child. It’s a situation which led her to miss the US Open as well. So that’s a big blow for the chances of the Belarusians even though they reached the final without her. But she would likely have been called up to compete for her country. Belarus have selected Aryna Sabalenka, Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Vera Lapko and Lidziya Marozava. On the other side of the table, the USA have neither Serena Williams or Venus Williams competing for them. The USA are going into the final with a strong line up for US Open champion Sloane Stephens, Coco Vandeweghe, Shelby Rogers and Alison Riske.

History & Head to Head

Belarus and the USA have only met once before in the competition and the USA won that one. It was a 5-0 victory over the USA in World Group II first round tie back in 2012. It has been 17 years since the USA last won the Fed Cup title, which was back in 2000 and that was their seventh victory. They are the most successful nation in the history of the Fed Cup and won it seven years on the bounce between 1976 and 1982. For Belarus, this is their first ever appearance in the final of the Fed Cup.

Fed Cup Tennis Final 2017 Prediction

This likely to go all of the way. Belarus are on a nine-tie winning streak in Fed Cup action which has carried them to the biggest moment of their history. That winning streak goes back to a Europe/Africa Zone Group I victory against Georgia in 2015. That shows how far they have come. They are led by 19 year old Aryna Sabalenka who got the vital point in the semi final against the Swiss to put her country in the final for the first time. Aliaksandra Sasnovich has been a rock for them, winning all four of her singles matches in this year’s tournament. The USA were carried through their semi final by Coco Vandeweghe who contributed to all three points in the match to get through. The USA will be less overawed by the occasion and have the extra quality in Vandeweghe and Stephens. They can get across the line as 2/9 odds on favourites.
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WTA Finals Betting 2017 Winner Odds & Predictions

Tennis Betting
The top eight players for the season on the WTA will be heading to Singapore to kick off the WTA Finals on October 22nd. Across the season, points are collected for tournament performances and the top eight players in the qualification points ranking get to compete at the Finals. The points come from sixteen tournaments and the four Grand Slams, the four Premier Mandatory events and the best results from two of the Premier 5 events must be included in the sixteen. The event has gone through some changes in its history and this is actually the 47th edition of the WTA Finals. The whole thing goes off at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Along with the main singles event, there will be a doubles event running alongside as well. The reining singles champion is Dominika Cibulkova who couldn't make it back to the event this season after struggling for most of the campaign. There are World Ranking points up for grabs in this one and the top seven seeds are all in contention to end the year as number 1. It’s that tight. Simona Halep is trading as 4/1 favourite at William Hill for this latest edition.

Format

The tournament starts off with a round robin event of two groups of four. Each player plays each of the other players in the group and the top two from each group then advances to the semi finals. The winner of each group will face the runners up from the other group. What will split players if things are tied are the greatest number of wins, then the greatest number of matches played and then head-to-head results if just two players are tied. If three players are tied it will go to things like highest percentage of sets won.

Qualified Players (in order of seeding)

1 Simona Halep, 2 Garbine Muguruza, 3 Karolina Pliskova, 4 Elina Svitolina, 5 Venus Williams, 6 Caroline Wozniacki, 7 Jelena Ostapenko, 8 Caroline Garcia

WTA FInals Winner Odds

Simona Halep 4/1, Garbine Muguruza 7/2, Karolina Pliskova 11/2, Caroline Garcia 6/1, Elina Svitolina 11/2, Jelena Ostapenko 7/1, Caroline Wozniacki 8/1, Venus Williams 9/1.

Simona Halep

The Romanian posted a very good 44-15 record over the course of the season. She has had something of a character building season after disappointments last term and she has been one of the most consistent performers all season. But she has only collected the one title this year and that was a title defence at the Mutua Madrid Open. She also got to the French Open Final and came runner up in three other events (Rome, Cincinnati and Beijing). Over 60% of her points, this season in the world rankings happened on clay. She is back in the WTA Finals for the fourth season running, so has consistency. It was a strong season because she only won two matches through January and February. Muguruza is probably her biggest challenge in this tournament as she trails 1-3 in the head to head against the Spaniard.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza has collected two titles this season, destroying Halep 6-1 6-0 in the final of Cincinnati and winning Wimbledon. So overall, strong stuff from the young Spaniard and she carries a 46-19 record for the season into this one and only Pliskova and Svitolina have won more matches than she has this season. Like Halep, she has had her time as World Number One this season. She’s always fun to watch as she plays some seriously high-risk tennis which of course, doesn't’ always pay off but she is less reserved than Halep is although clay is her preferred surface. Muguruza's biggest threat is Pliskova as she holds a poor 2-6 head to head record against the Czech player.

Karolina Pliskova

At one stage of the season, Pliskova looked unstoppable. There have been three titles for her this season, beating Johanna Konta and Caroline Wozniacki on the way to winning Eastbourne, beating Wozniacki in Doha after opening with a title in Brisbane in her first tournament of the year. She hasn’t been in any great form particularly though since a quarter final run at the US Open and there were signs of tiredness creeping into her game towards the end of the season. She also has had time as World Number One this season. The good thing for Pliskova, who is taking in a 51-16 record for the season, is that she has a positive head to head leads over Muguruza and Svitolina. But she trials Halep badly with just one win ever over the Romanian.

Elina Svitolina

The Ukrainian has a 52-12 record for the season, which is brilliant and that gives her more wins this season than any of the other eight. She has also claimed five titles this season as well. She can’t be counted out of this and qualified comfortably for the Finals. She hasn’t really done anything of note on her brief appearances since the US Open, but she has plenty in the tank to really make a strong challenge at the tournament. She has a great mental approach and she matches up evenly with most of the field going into this one aside from Pliskova who she trails 1-5 in the head to head against, so will be hoping to avoid her. She makes a good option

Venus Williams

It has been a fantastic season from Williams who just keeps going and going at the top level. She hasn’t landed a title this year but she has had her moments. She lost to her sister at the Australian Open, got the semi finals of Miami, the final of Wimbledon where she lost to Muguruza and reached the semi’s of the US Open as well where she was stopped by Sloane Stephens. It’s been a fine season from the 37 year old. She has won the tournament once, back in 2008 and finished runner up in her only other appearances at the finals the following year.

Caroline Wozniacki

The Dane has quietly had a pretty good season and carries a 56-20 season record into the WTA Finals. She has picked up a title this year and it was in the recent Asian swing as well when she beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final of Tokyo. Her previous appearance at the WTA Finals was in 2010 when she finished runner up to Kim Clijsters. Going into this one she has never won a game against either Svitolina, Williams or Ostapenko so may struggle to go all the way in the tournament.

Jelena Ostapenko

The surprise package of this year got to the WTA Finals remarkably and that is on the back of her main success which was the Grand Slam title at the French Open. Ostapenko has been a revelation this season with brave hitting and just tireless running. She proved that her Grand Slam win wasn’t a fluke as she took the Seoul title as well recently and she went to the quarter finals of Wimbledon as well. She has also been to the semi finals of Wuhan and the semi finals of Beijing on the Asian swing. As good of a dark horse bet that you will find in WTA Finals beting at William Hill at the moment. Stacks of value on her as an underdog.

Caroline Garcia

The young French battler has had a tremendous end to the season and so she is going to be popular because of her form. She is an underdog for the tournament though but her back to back titles in Wuhan and Beijing puts her at the top of her game at the moment. It was her run in Beijing which really impressed though because she beat Svitolina, Petra Kvitova and then Simona Halep in the final of the tournament. That was some statement from her. She doesn’t have a positive head to head record against any of the other seven players in the tournament though.

WTA Finals History

Martina Navtaivoa is the most successful player in the history of the WTA Finals, having won the title eight times. Of current players, Serena Williams is the leader with five titles and she is level with Steffi Graf in this history of wins at the tournament. Venus Williams is the only other player in this field who has happened to have won it before. Caroline Garcia, Jeļena Ostapenko and Elina Svitolina are all making their debuts in the event this year.

Predictions

Young Ostapenko can really have a great run at this and is value to book a place in at least the semi finals in this one. She is just carrying form and the other one is Garcia. Whether Garcia can sustain now against the best in the game is going to be the question surrounding her. As for the big guns in the field, the battle between Halep and Muguruza may well be the key factor. Halep has done a lot of good work this season and would be a justifiable winner, but her mental strength in clutch matches is still in doubt. Muguruza has the form over her so is the pick of the top two at William Hill.
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WTA China Open Winner Odds & Preview

Tennis Betting
There is another big step on the Road to Singapore and the WTA Finals this week as the WTA China Open is contested in Beijing. There is a big competitive field out, but sadly British interest was ended early as Johanna Konta lost in the first round against Monica Niculescu. Well, she didn’t lose, she was dismantled by the Romanian who landed her first-ever win over a top 10 player. There were some surprise results around in Wuhan last week with scrappy French youngster Caroline Garcia taking the teht title. It means that the race to end the year as World No 1 is wide open. Garbine Muguruza leads the way still (but retired from her first round match in this tournament against Barbora Strycova), but now Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova are all within sight. So this is another big competitive tournament and the usual suspects are at the head of the market, starting with joint favourites Pliskova and Svitolina who are 8/1 at Ladbrokes to go on and claim the title this week. Along with the race for number one spot, there are two places left for the Singapore WTA Finals this season. Starting this week in seventh is Jelena Ostapenko, the French Open champion getting a great win over Muguruza in the quarter finals of Wuhan. So there is a lot going on in this one and a good look at the draw is going to be all important and the bottom half of the draw is the one where things are a little bit tougher. That's because Simona Halep, Jelena Ostapenko, Karolina Pliskova and Maria Sharapova are all squished into it. So there's going to be an epic battle for someone to reach the final from there. It leaves things a little wider open perhaps in the top half which suits Svitolina. Karolina Pliskova 8/1, Petra Kvitova 8/1, Elina Svitolina 8/1, Caroline Wozniacki 13/2, Maria Sharapova 10/1, Simona Halep 10/1, Elena Ostapenko 16/1, Ashleigh Barty 18/1, Coco Vandeweghe 18/1, bar 20/1

Karolina Pliskova

Was stopped in the quarter finals of Wuhan last week by Ashleigh Barty and never looked really that comfortable or threatening in the tournament before that. Not carrying the greatest of form anymore since her run to the quarters at the US Open. She hasn’t looked close to getting a title on the board since then. Last year she got to the round of sixteen in Beijing where she was stopped by Johanna Konta. Hasn’t quite been at her best and in a tough quarter, maybe worth a miss.

Petra Kvitova

A risky one as Kvitova could be on for a showdown as early as the round of sixteen against Caroline Wozniacki who has been in decent form lately. That’s tough match to get through and Coco Vandeweghe could be waiting in the quarters. Not the easiest of sections for Kvitova and aside from a decent crack at the US Open hasn’t really been in the mix for a title lately.

Elina Svitolina

Svitolina won in Toronto at the Rogers Cup recently but followed that up with some disappointing runs in Cincinnati and the US Open. Skipped on Wuhan so should be fresh to make a run in this one. She has a decent draw ahead of her as well. Wuhan winner Caroline Garcia is in there but Garcia’s win last week probably took an emotional toll and Svitolina would be favoured. She has a nice draw in front of her and really should be a lock for the semi finals.

Caroline Wozniacki

The Dane has been in great form lately but surprisingly slipped last week in the second round of Wuhan against Maria Sakkari who made that surprising run to the semi finals. That will have been a dent in Wozniacki's recent form, but she has, by and large, looked positive down the back stretch of the season. She could have that clash with Kvitova early but should be competitive in the top section of the first half.

Maria Sharapova

The Russian is just going to be a dangerous floater in the draw, but she is squashed down in the really competitive bottom half of the draw and there would be a really tough path ahead. What’s interesting is that she could meet Halep in the round of sixteen, a rematch from the US Open first round which Sharapova won. Still not back 100% match sharp and on point tactically and worth a pass.

Simona Halep

One of the contenders for the world number one spot at the end of the year, so you would imagine that she would be up for this challenge. Unfortunately for the Romanian, her form is not going to give anyone confidence. Following her loss in the final of Cincinnati, she has made a first round exit at the US Open and in Wuhan last week. The pressure looks to be getting to her again and a potential early clash with Sharapova isn’t going to be easy and that will be on her mind as a distraction.

Elena Ostapenko

The youngster, who won the French Open this season is going to be worth a flutter. She is carrying a bit more form than those around her and at 16/1 with Ladbrokes has to be value. She got to the semi finals last week in Wuhan beating Garbine Muguruza along the way and she is on the outskirts of making it into the WTA Finals so needs to keep some momentum going. There is a decent enough draw for her here with only Pliskova potentially stopping her from getting another semi final berth this week.

Predictions

Ostapenko who has a bit of momentum behind her as well as a comfortable draw, looks a decent wager this week in Wuhan. So too does the fresh legs of Elina Svitolina who like Ostapenko has a comfortable looking draw in the less congested top half of the tournament looks some decent value to back this week.
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