2018 brings a new dawn on women’s tennis and whether a new order of talents can emerge remains to be seen or will it once again be the old guard of Serena and Venus that call the shots in the Grand Slams. Serena Williams is still absent from the tour following the birth of her daughter whilst Victoria Azarenka is wrapped up in a custody battle, preventing her from visiting Melbourne. US Open winner Sloane Stephens will be returning to action in Australia whilst the usual suspects of Halep, Wozniacki, Pliskova and Svitolina will be looking to break their respective Grand Slam ducks.
Here’s a look at some of our tips for the title:
Elina Svitolina – 15/2 (Coral) – The Ukrainian number 4 seed had a meteoric rise up the rankings in 2017 and is sure to be desperate to land a Grand Slam title here. She started the year in style by clinching the title in Brisbane and looks to have a decent draw here.
Simon Halep – 8/1 (PaddyPower) – The newly crowned world number 1, Simona Halep is looking for her maiden Grand Slam crown here. The Romanian hasn’t quite managed to get over the line on the biggest stages in world tennis but her win in Shenzhen last week is sure to give her real confidence.
Karolina Pliskova – 8/1 (Coral) – Former world number 1 Pliskova had a solid season in 2017 without claiming any Grand Slam titles. She lost out to Svitolina in Brisbane but has always enjoyed Melbourne Park and she reached the last 8 of the competition last season.
Caroline Wozniacki – 11/1 (Bwin) – The Dane reached 7 finals on the WTA tour last season and was consistent throughout the campaign – a run that has seen her rise to number 2 in the world rankings: one to watch here.
The Australian Open looks incredibly open this season and here are some of the outside picks:
Garbine Muguruza – 12/1 (Skybet) – Last season’s Wimbledon champion has struggled for form and fitness in recent times but has the game to win here – should it all come together at the right time.
Maria Sharapova – 12/1 (Coral) – Sharapova made an unremarkable comeback last season from her drug-related hiatus from the game but is always one to watch in any event.
Johanna Konta – 25/1 (PaddyPower) – The British number 1 loves this competition hard courts and seeded at 9, could cause some damage in the draw here.
Madison Keys – 25/1 (Betfred) – Since her return from injury in 2017, Keys has gone from strength to strength and her semi-final run at the US Open will give her cause for optimism here.
Coco Vandeweghe – 25/1 (Betfred) – The American is a fire-cracker of a player and looks to be coming of age on the WTA Tour.