2017 Australian Open favorites include Serena Williams

Angelique Kerber, the defending champion, is the 2nd favorite behind last year’s runnerup, Serena Williams.

It won’t be long until the 2017 Australian Open starts, the first Grand Slam of the year scheduled to begin on January 16th. There are plenty of smaller tournaments to be completed in the weeks leading up to the Aussie, however most tennis fans will be looking ahead at Melbourne Park. The two favorites for the tournament this season are the precise two players that made the final last season, although they aren’t in the same finishing order.

Serena Williams, who finished second at last year’s Australian Open, is the second favorite (19/10 bet365) to win in 2017. Williams last won the event in 2015, a year when she enjoyed a tremendous amount of success in majors. In 2016, her Grand Slam success did not abandon her as she still won Wimbledon, however her results did taper off a little. Over the year, she eventually lost the No. 1 ranking and she will be an interesting player to watch in 2017.

The player that beat Serena in Australia last season is the same one that took over top spot in the fall of 2016. However, Angelique Kerber is the second favorite at 4/1 with betway. Kerber is the current queen of the hard courts as she holds both the US Open title and the Melbourne Park title.

She will enter the 2017 Australian Open as a defending champion in a major for the first time in her career. That does change things up a little as she’ll be a part of the draw ceremony and she’ll face a lot of questions that she wouldn’t otherwise face. Arguably extra attention has not worked in her favor yet as she did not win a tournament after claiming the WTA’s top ranking in late 2016.

Petra Kvitova was among the favorites for the Aussie just one week ago, however the cowardly attack on her in her apartment will keep her off tour for several months. Madison Keys has also announced that she will miss the Aussie as she had some surgery off season that will taken a while to heal completely. Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza round out the top four favorites, priced at 8/1 and 10/1 respectively with bet365.

Caroline Wozniacki may be one to watch as the Dane did very well in the late going of 2016. In the talent-thinned field, Wozniacki may be dangerous and perhaps she’s under-rated at 40/1 with BetVictor. With Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, and Madison Keys all missing from the field, perhaps it wouldn’t be surprising to see a peripheral favorite do some major damage.

Shane Lambert