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Best Bets for the 2017 Australian Open
From Claire Siblot.
The Australian Open is the opening Grand Slam on
the new calendar year and is normally one of the toughest
tournaments to win given the heat in Melbourne and
with the event coming so early into the season.
Back in January Novak Djokovic joined Roy Emerson
by winning the men's event for the sixth time when
he beat Andy Murray in the final in straight sets.
If successful in 2017, he will have won in Melbourne
more times than any other player in the history of
men's tennis. In the women's competition, Angelique
Kerber won her maiden Grand Slam title after beating
Serena Williams in the final 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Here is a look at the best bets for the 2017 tournament
which begins on January 16 at Melbourne Park with
the men's final bringing up the end of the competition
on January 29.
Murray Can Win a Final at Sixth Time of Asking
Although Murray has to yet to win the Australian
Open, the British number one has done extremely well
at the event so far in his career, as he has reached
the final Down Under on five different occasions.
Murray first reached the final in Melbourne in 2010
where he beat the second seed Rafael Nadal in the
quarter-final before despatching Marin Cilic in the
last four to book a showdown against Roger Federer.
Sadly for the British number one, he was no match
for the Swiss player in the final as he swept away
Murray in straight sets.
In 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016 Murray was beaten in
the final on each occasion by Djokovic - who has dominated
the Australian Grand Slam over the last decade. In
those four finals Murray has won just two sets.
Murray, Olympics 2012
BY-ND 2.0) by Marianne
Murray ended the 2016 as world number one in what
was arguably the best season of his career to date.
He won his second singles title at Wimbledon, his
home Grand Slam, while just weeks later he was successful
in Rio at the Olympics where he picked up another
gold medal to go with the one he won in London in
Arguably the most pleasing win of last season for
the Scotsman was his victory
over Djokovic in the ATP World Tour Finals. Not
only did he claim the title at the O2 Arena for the
first time, he defended his number-one ranking, which
will give him a great deal of confidence going into
the new year. In the final against the Serbian, Murray
prevailed in straight sets in front of his home crowd,
just 24 hours after he saved match point against Milos
Raonic in what went into a deciding tie-breaker in
their semi-final match-up.
Murray is the favourite in the betting to be crowned
the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for his achievements
in 2016. He has already won the award twice and comes
up against a host of Olympic champions this year.
He has also been tipped to receive a knighthood in
the Queen's New Year honours list.
One of the reasons as to why Murray has been able
to reach five Australian Open finals is because he
trains extremely hard in the off-season in order to
ensure he is as fit as he can be for the opening Grand
Slam of the year. If it wasn't for Djokovic's dominance
in this tournament and in men's tennis in recent years,
the newly-crowned world number one would probably
have four titles to his name in Melbourne.
Although Djokovic won two Grand Slam titles in 2016,
there were signs that the Serbian's game was on a
decline last season. He was on course for the Calendar
Grand Slam after wins at the Australian Open and French
Open but then he was surprisingly beaten in the third
round of Wimbledon by Sam Querrey. He was able to
reach the final of the US Open in September but he
lost a four-set match to Stan Wawrinka in New York
in another surprise defeat.
Australian Open odds of 2.63 for the title, Murray
looks to be the best bet to come out on top ahead
of Djokovic. The top two in the world rankings are
likely to win their respective halves of the draw
again and meet in the final for a fifth time but the
British player can come out on top on this occasion
and bring his Grand Slam tally up to four in what
could a huge year for the 29-year-old in 2017.
Murray is improving all the time on clay courts.
He reached the final of the French Open for the first
time in 2016. He will then return to defend his Wimbledon
title in the summer. He is a former winner of the
US Open. That tournament brought up his maiden Grand
Slam success in 2012.
Del Boy Set for Return on Big Stage
If you are looking to back a player at a much higher
price, Juan Martin Del Potro stands out at 17.0 in
the outright market for the 2017 Australian Open.
The Argentine has struggled with injuries since he
beat Federer in the final of the US Open in 2009,
but there were signs last season that he was starting
to find his best game again.
Del Potro reached the final of the men's singles
tournament at the Olympics in Rio where he beat the
number one seed Djokovic in the opening round. Wins
followed over Joao Sousa, Taro Daniel, Roberto Bautista
Agut and Nadal before the final. Unfortunstely, Del
Boy was unable to win gold for Argentina as he was
beaten in four sets by Murray in a closely fought
Martin del Potro of Argentina (CC
BY-ND 2.0) by
The Argentine number one did play a huge part though
in helping his country to their first Davis Cup success
this year. In their semi-final over Great Britain,
Del Potro gained revenge on Murray by beating him
in their singles rubber. The pair played for five
hours and seven minutes and although Murray led 2-1
in sets, he fell 3-2 to the big serving man from Tandil
in what was always going to be the crucial tie of
In the final against Croatia, Del Potro once again
played a huge role for his country. He was able to
defeat Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-3, 7-5 on day
one of the tie, while on the final day of the match,
he came from two sets down to beat Cilic to keep his
side's hopes alive going into the last rubber which
was won by Del Potro's teammate Federico Delbonis.
Del Potro should have a bigger impact on the Grand
Slams in 2017 if he keeps up the form he showed in
spells at the back end of last season and he can start
the year with a big run in the Australian Open.
Andy Murray to win 2017 Men's Australian Open
Juan Martin Del Potro each-way bet for 2017 Men's
Australian Open @ 17.0
Kerber's Win Last Year Was No Fluke
At the age of 28, Kerber
won her first Grand Slam title of her career in
2016 at the Australian Open in what really was a breakthrough
year for the German, who is now ranked as the number
one player in the women's game.
Kerber went into the 2016 Australian Open at 34.0
in the betting, as she had never previously gone further
than the fourth round in Melbourne, while her record
in Grand Slam tournaments wasn't great either, Her
previous best finish was the semi-final of the US
Open in 2011 and Wimbledon in 2012.
In the run-in to the final, Kerber beat Victoria
Azarenka and Johanna Konta in the quarter-final and
semi-final respectively before her showdown with Serena
Williams. Not many people gave her a chance against
arguably the best player in the history of women's
tennis. The German was able to win the first set 6-4.
Once Williams levelled the match after taking the
second set 6-3, the momentum was expected to be with
the number one seed, however, Kerber surprised the
world by edging the final set 6-4 to claim the trophy.
BY-SA 2.0) by NAPARAZZI
The win in Melbourne clearly did wonders for Kerber's
career as she reached the final of Wimbledon later
that year with big wins coming over Simona Halep and
Venus Williams. Sadly for the Australian Open champion,
she was unable to get better of Serena on grass as
the American claimed her 7th title in the tournament.
A third Grand Slam final of the year came in the
US Open for Kerber where she ended the tournament
in style to win at Flushing Meadows. The 28-year-old
got the better of Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova
in three sets in Queens, New York.
Despite her success in 2016, Kerber has still been
underestimated in the betting for the 2017 Australian
Open where she is 6.0 to defend her crown in Melbourne.
Although she is no longer world number one, Serena
has to be the favourite but she looks a little too
short at 2.88 to win her seventh Australian Open title.
The two players should be the top two seeds in the
draw so unless there is an upset early, it would be
no surprise to see the best two players in the women's
game battling it out again for the trophy. If they
do, Kerber won't fear her opponent as she knows she
has the game to beat her.
Madison May Have the Keys to a Big Run in Melbourne
Madison Keys is set to appear in her sixth Australian
Open next month, despite being only 21 years old.
The big-serving American has been tipped to become
the number one ranked player in the world one day
and next year could be her time to shine by become
a Grand Slam winner.
Keys reached the semi-final in Melbourne in 2015
when she was just a teenager. The youngster had wins
over the number four seed Petra Kvitova and former
winner Venus Williams before losing to Serena
in the last four of the tournament 7-6 (7), 6-2.
BY-SA 2.0) by Kulitat
2016 has been a big success for Keys as she broke
inside the world's top 10 where she is currently ranked
eighth following the WTA Finals in Singapore. She
started the season in Melbourne where she could only
reach the fourth round of the Australian Open as she
was carrying an injury.
In April the American changed her coaching team and
is now working with Thomas Hogstedt. She has made
a lot of progress under Maria Sharapova's former coach.
Not long after the new appointment, she reached the
biggest final of her career in Rome. Sadly for Keys
she came up against Serena, who was at her best to
deny her the title in Italy.
Keys' second career title came on the grass in the
Aegon Classic in Birmingham last summer. That success
allowed her to break into the world's top 10 for the
very first time. She has since been as high as number
seven. If she continues to improve in 2017, it won't
be long before she is inside the top five.
The 21-year old's season got better at the Rogers'
Cup where she also reached the final in Canada, losing
in straight sets to Halep. Keys will be very disappointed
that she never went further than the fourth round
at any of the Grand Slams in 2016. Like all young
players, she just needs one big run to the final at
either of the major events and she could then be a
regular in the latter stages.
At 27.0 she looks to be a little overpriced, therefore
she is worth siding with each-way bet for the Melbourne
Park event. Unlike 12 months ago, she will have a
full off-season where she can prepare for the tournament.
Her run in 2015 suggests she can handle the heat in
the Australian city and the hard court certainly appear
to suit her game.
Angelique Kerber to win the 2017 Women's Australian
Open @ 7.0
Madison Keys each-way bet in the 2017 Women's Australian
Open @ 27.0
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