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Number one seed Iga Swiatek was knocked out of the Australian Open early on Sunday morning in straight sets by Elena Rybakina meaning it is now anyone's guess as to who will take the title in Melbourne.
  1. Tennis
  2. Australian Open

Tennis: A look ahead to the Australian Open

The 2022 season may have come to a close, but tennis fans don't have long to wait for their favourites to be back in action as the drama is only on hold until the beginning of January.

The Australian swing opens the new campaign in the first week of 2023 with the action Down Under concluding with one of the four Grand Slams, the Australian Open.

And we take a look at the showpiece event from Melbourne and pinpoint some players who look well set to hit the ground running.

Novak Djokovic is 6/5 to claim his tenth Australian Open title, while defending champion Rafael Nadal is an 8/1 chance, new world number one Carlos Alcaraz is 4/1 and home favourite Nick Kyrgios is 7/1.

In the women's event, Ashleigh Barty would be the defending champion, but the home favourite has since retired, so world number one Iga Swiatek is 2/1.

Four-time Grand Slam winner and 2021 champion Naomi Osaka is 8/1, WTA Tour Finals winner Caroline Garcia 9/1 and Aryna Sabalenka 10/1.

Djokovic favoured to get off to a flyer

What: Men's Singles, Australian Open 2023
Where: Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia
When: Monday 16th January 2023 - Sunday 29th January 2023
How to watch: Discovery+, bet365 Sports Live Streaming
Odds: Novak Djokovic 6/5, Daniil Medvedev 7/2, Carlos Alcaraz 4/1, Nick Kyrgios 7/1, Rafael Nadal 8/1

Novak Djokovic has made the Australian Open his own in recent years and the 21-time Grand Slam winner could take some stopping in the opening Major of the season.

The slick Serb has excelled in Australia, winning the competition nine times, and even at 6/5 is sure to have his supporters.

The 35-year-old didn't have his most productive season on Tour, but he still won Wimbledon for a seventh time and also finished on a high as he won the ATP Tour Finals.

The draw is obviously unknown at present, but he looks the right man at the head of the market, especially as old rival Nadal is another year older and at 36 is plagued by injuries.

Daniil Medvedev has gone off the boil, Carlos Alcaraz is only 19 and has inconsistencies to iron out of his game, while Alexander Zverev missed much of the 2022 campaign and has to prove his well-being.

Classy Canadian could go from strength to strength

If Novak Djokovic falters, one player who could capitalise is Felix Auger-Aliassime, who should be going into the New Year full of confidence.

The classy Canadian had a habit of falling at the final hurdle at the start of last season but he transformed into a winning machine by the end of the campaign.

Auger-Aliassime has won four hard-court titles at the back end of the year and also led his country to the Davis Cup final, something that should have given him a lot of belief.

Now 22, FAA is heading into the peak of his career and it shouldn't be long until he is competing for Grand Slam glory.

The world number six was a quarter-finalist in Melbourne last year and built on that by making the last four of the US Open, so he is edging nearer.

At 18/1 he may have been underestimated and certainly makes more appeal than the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud and Holger Rune, three players who perhaps hold stronger claims on the clay at the French Open.

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Garcia could serve it up to super Swiatek

What: Women's Singles, Australian Open 2023
Where: Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia
When: Monday 16th January 2023 - Sunday 29th January 2023
How to watch: Amazon Prime Video
Odds: Iga Swiatek 2/1, Naomi Osaka 8/1, Caroline Garcia 9/1, Aryna Sabalenka 10/1, Elena Rybakina 12/1

Iga Swiatek is the dominant force in the women's game and, while the prolific Pole may take some stopping next season too, 2/1 clearly over-rates her chances of winning the Australian Open.

The world number one won eight titles in a stellar 2022, including the French Open and the US Open, which took her Grand Slam tally to three.

However, her price is short enough and there are a few interesting contenders against her.

Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka, winner in Melbourne two years ago, is one of the best on a hard court, but she has plenty to prove having failed to win a title since.

The hard-hitting Aryna Sabalenka is a top talent but wildly inconsistent, while Elena Rybakina may be more reliable when attempting to defend her Wimbledon crown.

That could leave WTA Tour Finals champion Garcia as the player to serve it up to Swiatek at 9/1.

The Frenchwoman has always been considered good enough to win a Grand Slam event and, having spent some time in the wilderness, looks back to her brilliant best.

The 29-year-old has risen back up to world number four after winning five trophies last season and she also made the semi-final of the US Open. She could continue to blossom.

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