Australian Open Tennis Tips and Predictions

Andrew Hendrie:

The 2020 Australian Open is just around the corner and we’ve selected our best bets for the men’s and women’s singles champion.

Australian Open Men’s Singles Tips

A brand new decade of Grand Slam tennis will begin down under at Melbourne Park as the 2020 Australian Open gets underway on January 20 – but will it be the same names dominating men’s tennis at the majors?

Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic were the only players not named Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray to win a Grand Slam last decade, but with the aforementioned quartet now solidly into their 30s, surely it’s only a matter of time before fresh faces step up on the biggest stage.

We’ve already seen the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev break through and make an impact over the last couple of seasons, but are they ready to land themselves a major title in the first big event of the 2020s?

As much as I’d love that to be the case, I don’t see it happening. Nadal and Djokovic have combined to win the last seven Grand Slams, and until that changes, I can’t back against them.

Djokovic ($2.63 @Sportsbet) is a record seven-time winner at the Australian Open and the defending champion after crushing Nadal in straight sets in the 2019 final, while the Spaniard is the main man on tour at the moment after finishing last year as World No. 1.

Nadal ($4.50 with Beteasy) has never fully flourished at the Australian Open, but with Federer’s Grand Slam record well within his sights in 2020, he will be determined as ever.

Speaking of the Swiss, you can never rule out Federer when it comes to Grand Slams, with the 20-time major champion at $10 @bet365 to win his first major in two years at the Australian Open.

Medvedev was one of the biggest stories of 2019 as the Russian made six straight finals in the second half of the year, while he was also the only man to take a set off Djokovic at the Australian Open. The Russian now has the challenging task of backing up everything he did last year – Medvedev is $11 @bet365 to win a first Grand Slam in Melbourne.

After beating Federer on his way to a first major semi-final at the Australian Open in 2019, Tsitsipas is listed at $13 with bet365 to break through for his first Grand Slam title in 2020. The young Greek ended 2019 on the highest of highs as he won the ATP Finals in London – if he can play like sort of tennis in best-of-five over two weeks then watch out.

Dominic Thiem made huge strides on hardcourts in 2019, winning his first Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells and picking up 500 crowns in Beijing and Vienna, along with reaching the ATP Finals title match – can the Austrian continue that sort of tennis at Melbourne Park? Thiem is $15 with Sportsbet.

Zverev hasn’t figured out Grand Slam tennis yet, is yet to make a semi-final and has currently forgotten how to serve, but if you fancy the German to solve the puzzle at the Australian Open, he’s $26 with Sportsbet.

Or if you think perennial bad boy Nick Kyrgios can zone in and focus for two weeks at his home major, the Aussie is $41 @Sportsbet. You can also get some juicy odds for the likes of Denis Shapovalov ($51 with Sportsbet), Stan Wawrinka (66/1 @Beteasy) and Marin Cilic ($67 @bet365).

But, in all likelihood, it’s going to come down to two men once again. Djokovic plays his best tennis at Melbourne Park and will be determined to wrestle back the No. 1 ranking from Nadal as soon as possible, along with keeping pace in the Grand Slam title count. It’s the Serbian’s title to lose once again.

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Australian Open Women’s Singles Tips

Meanwhile, another wide open women’s Grand Slam field awaits at the 2020 Australian Open as a fresh decade of tennis gets underway at Melbourne Park from January 20.

Unlike men’s tennis, where the majors have been dominated by four individuals for over a decade, women’s tennis is as fresh and unpredictable as ever as we enter the 2020s, with any number of 20+ players having strong claims for the Australian Open title.

Leading the pack is of course the legendary Serena Williams, who continues her pursuit of an elusive 24th Grand Slam singles title – and what better place to equal Margaret Court’s record than the Australian Open?

Serena ($6.50 with bet365) hasn’t won a title since claiming the 2017 Australian Open while three months pregnant, but she’s come agonisingly close on a number of occasions, reaching four major finals over the last two seasons (two each at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open).

The American has proven she doesn’t need much tennis to get going and if Serena keeps putting herself in these positions, she’s too good a player not to take her chance sooner rather than later. But can she return to the Australian Open final in what is an extremely competitive field?

The player that beat Serena in the U.S. Open final – Canada’s teenage sensation Bianca Andreescu ($11 with Beteasy) – is sensationally one of the top four favourites for the 2020 Australian Open after having to play qualifying at the tournament 12 months ago.

Andreescu was the undisputed breakout player of 2019 as she won Indian Wells and the Rogers Cup to go with her stunning U.S. Open triumph, and if she can remain injury free, she will be very hard to beat in Melbourne. But injuries have played a big part in her young career to date and it’s no guarantee Andreescu will be fully fit come the Australian Open after she was forced to withdraw from the WTA Finals at the end of 2019.

World No. 1 and Australia’s own Ashleigh Barty ($9.00 @bet365) put together a phenomenal season in 2019 as she won her first Grand Slam and Premier Mandatory titles at Roland Garros and Miami, while she also secured the WTA Finals Shenzhen crown to end the season at the top of the rankings. Barty is as relaxed and chilled as they come, but I do wonder how she will handle the pressure and expectation of the home crowd if she goes deep.

What about defending champion Naomi Osaka? The Japanese-Haitian star is the defending champion after her superb triumph over Petra Kvitova in the 2019 final, and after linking up with Wim Fissette for the 2020 season, Osaka ($10 @bet365) is primed to bounce back to her best form. With her great form to end 2019 in mind, where she won titles in Osaka and Beijing, the World No. 3 is as good a chance as any to prevail once more at the Australian Open.

Speaking of super coaches, Darren Cahill is back working with Simona Halep ($11 @bet365) and that could easily spark the Romanian back to her own best tennis as the 2018 runner-up goes in search of her third major title after triumphs at Roland Garros 2018 and Wimbledon 2019.

Karolina Pliskova will always be in the conversation, but I feel the Czech has struggled to find her best tennis when it matters most – and that’s backed up by her inability as of yet to win a major or Premier Mandatory. The Czech is $14 with Beteasy to snap her major drought at the Australian Open, as is Elina Svitolina ($17 with Sportsbet).

Petra Kvitova, last year’s runner-up, looks tremendous value at $26 with bet365, as does former champion Angelique Kerber ($34 at Beteasy), who seems to have developed a pattern of one good year, one poor year – is the German set for another strong season in 2020?

Aryna Sabalenka ($21 with bet365) is another player who finished 2019 in strong fashion and should she play her best tennis in Melbourne, is someone very capable of blitzing everyone in the draw.

As mentioned at the top of the piece, there’s a number of other players that can emerge triumphant in Melbourne, including Belinda Bencic ($26 with Sportsbet), Sloane Stephens ($34 with Beteasy) and Kiki Bertens ($34 with bet365).

But for me, Serena, Osaka, Andreescu (if fit), Barty and Halep are the five leading contenders. Of those, I think Halep is the best value. She’s back with Cahill, knows what it takes to make the final in Melbourne and has well and truly figured out how to peak for the majors (and pace herself through a tournament). It’s all about avoiding early round upsets for a lot of the top seeds, and if Halep can make it into the second week, she’s as good a chance as any to take home the title.

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