With defending champion Ashleigh Barty now retired from tennis, the women's Australian Open trophy is up for grabs and the star player from 2022 looks set to keep her fine form going into this year.
|What:||Australian Open Women's singles|
|Where:||Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
|When:||Monday 16th January to Sunday 29th January 2023|
|How to watch:||Eurosport 1 & 2 and bet365's Sports Live Streaming|
|Odds:||Iga Swiatek 6/4, Jessica Pegula 7/1, Aryna Sabalenka 11/2, Caroline Garcia 7/1, Coco Gauff 8/1|
World number one Iga Swiatek, who totally bossed the first half of last year without winning the Australian Open, is to go two steps better in the next couple of weeks than she did when reaching the Melbourne Park semi-finals last year.
The Pole, champion at the French and US Opens last season, is the one to beat at her best but there are question marks surrounding her form following a straight-sets defeat to Jessica Pegula when representing her country in the United Cup earlier this month.
Given the chance that Swiatek may not be at her best right now, it's quite possible that the women's singles is wide open. Aryna Sabalenka is 7/1 following her triumph in the prep event in the first of the two Adelaide Internationals, then Pegula comes in at .
WTA Finals heroine Caroline Garcia and Auckland champion Coco Gauff are also prominent in the betting, while Ons Jabeur, the popular Tunisian who was runner-up at Wimbledon and in the US Open last year, is available at .
Olympic singles gold medallist Belinda Bencic, victorious in the second of the Adelaide International events last week, is 16/1 then it's 22/1 Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Rybakina and Barbora Krejcikova, French Open winner in 2021.
However, with umpteen players having opportunities in what looks an open betting heat, it could pay to take outright chances on a few longshots. Sofia Kenin has been 500/1 in recent days and the American, a 125/1 chance now, looks to be somewhere back near her brilliant best after a series of encouraging results this month.
Kenin won the Australian Open in 2020 and made the French Open final four months after that, so at her best she's a top-class performer. She faces a potentially tough opener against two-time Melbourne Park singles champion Victoria Azarenka but may have the beating of the 33-year-old Belarusian.
Garbine Muguruza is a former French Open and Wimbledon champion who has yet to go all the way in a hard-court major singles tournament.
But the Spaniard finished runner-up to Kenin in 2020 so she too possesses the tools and knowhow down under and it could be a relief to 80/1 shot Muguruza that her fellow sometime titans Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep are not competing in Victoria this year.
Muguruza opens with a tough clash against 27th seed Elise Mertens but it's one the Venezuela-born 29-year-old could win if turning out anywhere near her best.
Swiatek and Gauff dominate the first quarter of the draw and are 10/11 and respectively to reach the semi-finals, but there are plenty of other talents floating dangerously in the section.
Last year's runner-up Danielle Collins, who found only Barty too good in the final, has a big opportunity, although there is no 150/1 to be had about the American this year.
Collins is 10/1 to progress to the last four for the second year running, but considering impressive Chinese youngster Qinwen Zheng may not yet be performing at her peak, an interest on Gauff, who did not drop a set on the way to claiming the Auckland crown, could be prudent.
Kenin, one of only four Grand Slam singles champions in the second quarter, looks the value at to fend off possible opponents Azarenka, Madison Keys, Maria Sakkari and Pegula, Krejcikova or Petra Kvitova.
Fourth seed Garcia tops the market at 12/5 In the 3rd Quarter, but this section is really up for grabs. Veronika Kudermetova, who reached the semis of the second Adelaide event last week before pulling out of her last-four outing, could hold most potential and she is in the betting.
Sabalenka, who has just announced that she is expecting her first child, is 21/10 to win the 4th Quarter.
But with Bencic having been busy on the eve of the first Slam of the year - the Swiss ace was a hugely impressive title winner in Adelaide last week - an interest on Muguruza to progress further than her fellow luminaries Beatriz Haddad Maia, Liudmila Samsonova and Marketa Vondrousova could be worth having.