Will world No.2 Serena Williams win her seventh Australian Open title and 23rd major or will world No. 1 and reigning Aussie Open champ Angelique Kerber retain the title she won in Melbourne a year ago?
With the Australian Open set to get underway on Monday, January 16, in Melbourne, Australia, the big question entering the first grand slam event of the season is whether or not anyone on the WTA Tour can take down the aforementioned pair. Let’s find out now.
In Depth Analysis On The 2017 Australian Open Women’s Round Overview And Picks
Women’s Singles Title Odds
Serena Williams 5/2
Williams has won six Aussie Open titles (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2015) and will have plenty of motivation to get it done in Melbourne after losing her long-held No. 1 ranking and falling in the finals at both, the Aussie and French Opens before winning Wimbledon. Serena Williams is also seeking her 23rd slam, which would move her second on the all-time list ahead of Steffi Graf and one shy of Margaret Court’s career mark of 24.
Angelique Kerber 10/3
Kerber had a career year in winning the Australian and U.S. Opens and finishing as the runner-up to Williams at Wimbledon. Still, you should know that, prior to last year, Kerber had never made it past the fourth round at the Aussie in nine previous appearances.
Garbine Muguruza 8/1
The talented world No. 7 won the first grand slam title of her career by bagging the 2016 French Open title, but underachieved after that and didn’t make it past the third round at any other major and has never gotten past the fourth round in four appearances at the Australian Open.
Simona Halep 10/1
The world No. 4 reached the quarterfinals at the Aussie in 2014 and 2015, but fell in the first round last year in a stunner. Now, however, after reaching the quarters at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, I’m thinking Halep could make another deep run!
Karolina Pliskova 10/1
Pliskova is on the rise. Currently ranked 11th in the world, the 24-year-old Czech reached the final at the U.S. Open and could be primed for another deep run at a major on a similar hard court after making consecutive third round appearances at the Aussie in the last two years.
Dominika Cibulkova 22/1
After winning the season-ending WTA Championships in Singapore, the five-foot-five Slovakian has the look of a player ready to make the breakthrough to her first major. The world No. 5 has reached the quarterfinals of every major at least once and reached the final in Melbourne in 2014 before losing to Li Na of China.
Agnieszka Radwanska 25/1
The world No.3 is as consistent as any tennis player on the face of the planet, but clearly lacks the power to beat the ‘big’ girls late in grand slam events. Still Radwanska reached the semis in Melbourne last year and the fourth round in every other major.
Caroline Wozniacki 25/1
Not only does ‘Sunshine’ still have her world famous smile working for her, but the world No. 19 looked fantastic late last season in reaching the semis at the U.S. Open. Wozniacki was knocked out in the first round at last year’s Aussie but made the semis in 2011 and the quarters a year later.
Madison Keys 28/1
The powerful and athletically-gifted world No. 8 has the talent to beat anyone on the planet, even though she generally underachieves in her biggest matches. Keys reached the fourth round in all four majors a year ago and reached the semis at the Aussie in 2015 and clearly has the firepower to beat anyone on the face of the planet, even if she is lacking in the ‘fortitude’ department.
Johanna Konta 33/1
The world No. 10 reaches the semis at the 2016 Australian open, but failed to advance past the fourth round at the other three majors. I’m thinking Konta is a longshot at best this time around.
Overall Analysis: I’m going with a pick for Serena Williams to outlast either Simona Halep or Dominika Cibulkova in the finals. Williams has been a perennial title contender at the Australian Open and has plenty of motivation to start her year off with a huge addition to her career grand slam collection. I believe every woman in the field will be really gunning to take out Angelique Kerber and that fact, combined with her previously uninspiring results at the Aussie will rule her out for consecutive victories. Halep and Cibulkova both have the stamina, consistency and desire to reach the finals, but in the end, I don’t think either has the firepower to deal with a healthy Williams.