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Australian Open 2017 – Daily Betting Tips

Our tennis betting expert returns with his daily betting tips for the Australian Open – check back here every day for his best bets and to see how the tips fare.

A £10 bet on all his daily tips at the four 2016 Grand Slams returned a profit of £217.

Results

Every day we will update the results of his Australian Open 2017 betting tips here:

TIPSWINNERSLOSERSPROFIT/LOSS (to a £10 level stake)
321418-£42.94

Day 14 – Sunday 29th January

Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal   Loser Loser

I didn’t have a particularly successful run of bets from the quarter-finals onwards, but fans of the games will surely have been delighted to see the finals end up with Federer and Nadal in the mens, and the Williams sisters in the ladies.

I’ll start off by being perfectly honest – this is one of the hardest match ups I’ve ever looked at. Knowing how much of past form between the players to factor in, how much notice to pay to their recent form, and how to judge how Federer’s long lay-off last season will have affected his chances – either positively or negatively.

Nadal is one of the very few players to have a dominant head-to-head record against Federer – winning 25 of their 36 career meetings, dating backing 12 years. Whilst he made plenty of that running on clay (13-2 advantage), he’s also been much more dominant on hard courts, winning 10 of their 12 encounters.

As far as their 2 season form on hard courts go, Federer has the edge, winning 69% of matches vs Top 10 players compared to Nadal who has won 43%. It’s a similar story against those ranked 10th-50th, with Federer winning 88% and Nadal 64%.

I’m going with head-to-head on this one however – Nadal looks to be playing as well as he has for quite some time, and comes into this knowing exactly how to beat one of the best players to ever grace the courts, which could give him the psychological advantage. Nadal can be backed at 4/5 and that looks a fair shout give he’s won so many of their previous encounters on this surface and is the younger of the two.

For those looking for a bit more excitement in the final rather than just picking the winner, I’d strongly recommend a trip to Sky Bet where the range of “RequestABets” is superb and growing by the hour.

Of those available already, I’d be happy to back Nadal on the -4.5 games handicap at 15/8, but if you’ve got your own fancy, get on twitter and get requesting!

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Rafael NadalMatch Winner4/5Bet365
Rafael Nadal (-4.5)Games Handicap15/8Sky Bet

Day 13 – Saturday 28th January

Venus Williams v Serena Williams   Loser

The Williams sisters lock horns for the 29th time on Saturday in the Australian Open final. It’s a proper throwback to years of old – the first time they have met in a Grand Slam final since 2009. This will be their 9th Grand Slam final meeting in all, and their second here in Australia.

Serena has won 7 of their last 8 meetings since really taking over at the top of the world game and she has the stronger stats whichever way you cut them, but the bookmakers are more than covering that by offering Serena at no longer than 1/5, and I fancy that could be a touch short – opening up some value on Venus.

Serena is 28-4 in Mebourne since 2012 (88%), while Venus is a decent 11-4 (73%). Against Top 10 players on hard courts over the past two seasons, Serena has been 12-4 (75%), while Venus has been 5-7 (42%). Drop that down to players ranked from 10th-50th and it compares 19-3 (86%) to 19-6 (76%). In short, Serena is the stronger player, and justifies being favourite, but 1/5 is a short price and Venus will be fired up to deliver her best tennis in this one in what will surely be her final shot at adding another Grand Slam to the seven she has already won. At 4/1 she looks a fair play.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Venus WilliamsMatch Winner4/1Bet365

Day 12 – Friday 27th January

Rafael Nadal v Grigor Dimitrov   Loser

As the results have rolled in over in Melbourne, the 2017 Australian Open has taken on a strange retro feel, with a very real chance of the Williams sisters contesting the Ladies final, while a Federer v Nadal final is now favourite in the mens!

I however believe it could be Nadal who prevents that nostalgic notion becoming a reality when he comes up Grigor Dimitrov on Friday. The pair have met eight times before with Nadal winning the first seven, but Dimitrov drew last blood in Beijing – and did so comfortably that day, winning 62 64.

And there is enough in the stats over the past 12 months to suggest he could do so again. Looking first at their service records on hard courts against Top 50 players, Nadal has won just 60.5% of his service points. You have to go all the way down to Gilles Simon – ranked 25th – before you find another man with such a poor record, and Dimitrov is much more reliable, winning 65.4% of service points.

At the other end Nadal is a healthier 40.4% when receiving, but Dimitrov isn’t all that shabby himself at 37.5%, and he could certainly take the game to the Spaniard.

Having played 14 games fewer, Dimitrov is also likely to be slightly fresher for this match and overall he looks a fair value bet at best odds of 2/1 with Paddy Power.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Grigor DimitrovMatch Winner2/1Paddy Power

Day 11 – Thursday 26th January

Roger Federer v Stan Wawrinka   Winner

The first Men’s Semi-Final is an all Swiss affair, as Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka meet for the 24th time in their careers. The Fed-Ex leads that head to head record 20-3 and has also won all six of their semi-final matches. The three times Wawrinka has defeated Federer have all come on clay, and despite Federer’s long lay off since Wimbledon, I’ve seen enough to convince me that rather than leaving him rusty, the break has done him the power of good and enhanced his chances of one last Slam.

Paddy Power offer Federer at 8/11 and that looks pretty reasonable to me. He has broken his opponents serve 27 times so far in Melbourne – and been broken back just 8 times, while Wawrinka has broken 21 times – and has been broken 13 times.

It can also be argued he was slightly fortuitous against Tsonga in the last round and that match might have been different on another day. Big Stan only had three break points in the match, but took them all, while Tsonga got six, but only converted one.

It’s hard to see how Tsonga would have won it, but he could certainly have made it harder for Wawrinka.

Overall, if ever the stars were aligning for one man, it is surely Roger Federer, and I’m happy enough to back him at 8/11 in a match he should win to reach the final.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Roger FedererMatch Winner8/11Paddy Power

Day 10 – Wednesday 25th January

David Goffin v Grigor Dimitrov   Loser

The elimination of Murray and Djokovic has massively opened up the men’s draw, and I fancy that David Goffin is a value selection to at least reach the Semi-Finals when he faces Grigor Dimitrov as the significant underdog.

The hard courts stats over the past 12 months suggest this might be closer than the bookmakers expect – there isn’t a lot between the pair in their winning records, and their service and receiving points records tell a similar story.

Dimitrov has won 63.4% of service points against Top 20 players over the past 52 weeks, and 38.2% of receiving points – a total serve and receive score of 101.6%.

Goffin has won 63.2% of service points and 40.7% of receiving points on the same metrics – a combined rate of 103.9%. That returning could be the key here, and I’m happy to take a chance on Goffin at odds of 13/8.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
David GoffinMatch Winner13/8Bet365

Rafael Nadal v Milos Raonic   Loser

In the other match, I like the odds available on Milos Raonic making it two wins over Rafael Nadal in as many weeks.

While the Canadian has a poor 2-7 head to head record with Nadal, these players are in the process of changing places in the tennis world order, and Nadal showed enough signs of chinks in his armour against Gael Monfils to suggest he could be vulnerable in this one.

Taking similar metrics as I’ve used in the first game, Raonic compares favourably to Nadal. Against Top 20 players, Raonic has won 70.6% of service points and 37.3% of receiving points (combined 107.9%), while Nadal is 63.6% and 42.3% respectively (combined 105.9%). Neither player has looked entirely convincing this week, but I’ll happily take the 13/10 on the World Number 3 in this one.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Milos RaonicMatch Winner13/10Betfair

Day 9 – Tuesday 24th January

Venus Williams v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova   Winner

If you’ve been following my tips for the duration of the Australian Open, you’ll no doubt be unsurprised to see me tipping up Venus Williams yet again in the quarter finals. I tipped her to beat Stephanie Voegele and Ying-Ying Duan (both 2-0) and then again for the straight win over Mona Barthel, while we are already holding a 10/1 outright bet on her reaching the semi-finals.

If you’re aboard that outright bet already, you might choose to pass on my next tip – but for those who didn’t, you’ve got one last chance to side with Williams to get to the semis, as she meets Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

This could be a tight one, but I’m surprised to see the bookmakers struggling to split the pair as I have the American as a reasonably good favourite in this. With a 3-2 head-to-head advantage, there isn’t a great steer of course, and only one of those meetings game after 2010.

Over the past 12 months, the pair have almost identical records against players ranked 50-100 on hard courts – winning 61% (Williams) and 60% (Pavlyuchenkova) of matches, but against the better players Williams looks stronger – the American has won 78% of matches against those ranked 10-50 and 42% of matches against Top 10 players, while the Russian is just 58% and 33%.

Having won every match so far in Melbourne 2-0, Williams should have the energy in hand for a final push to follow up her 2016 Wimbledon Semi-Finals appearance with another here.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Venus WilliamsMatch Winner10/11Bet365, Coral

Day 8 – Monday 23rd January

Gael Monfils v Rafael Nadal   Loser Loser

Rafael Nadal is a strong favourite with the bookmakers for this match, but I think it could be time for Gael Monfils to begin redressing the sizable head-to-head deficit which has been built up over their careers. Nadal has a 12-2 advantage over Monfils – but his performances over the past 12 months suggest an upset could be possible.

Looking first at their comparable stats against Top 50 players on Hard Courts over the past 52 weeks, and there are a couple which make this look a tight encounter.

Firstly, looking at their return games, Monfils wins an average of 1.25 per set, while Nadal has been a slightly better 1.38 over the year, but when looking at the Service Games lost per set, Monfils has a decent advantage, losing only 0.81 vs Nadal’s 1.13.

This is backed up by Monfils winning 65.1% of service points against Top 50 players and 60.7% against Top 20 players, while the corresponding stats for Nadal are 60.5% and 58.2%.

All in all Nadal should be expected to return slightly better, but the improved service game of Monfills should create a perfect counterbalance, and so this is a match that should be closer than the 4/11 odds chalked up on Nadal.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Gael MonfilsMatch Winner5/2Coral
Gael Monfils +5.5Games Handicap10/11Bet365

Dominic Thiem v David Goffin   Winner

In the bottom quarter I am backing hard court Belgian David Goffin to get the better of clay courter Dominic Thiem – who doesn’t look as comfortable on these courts.

Firstly, Goffin has a 5-3 head-to-head advantage over Thiem, but crucially has won both of their hard court meetings – the last of which came on these courts last year. Goffin won an impressive 40% of receiving points that day, and a repeat would see him win this easily.

Goffin has won a decent 38.2% of receiving points against Top 20 players on hard courts over the past 12 months, compared to just 29.2% for Thiem, while on Serve Goffin has won 58.3% compared to 59.4% for Thiem.

The receiving should make all the difference in this one again, and the results thus far in Melbourne suggest the same – Thiem being taken to four sets in each of his 3 matches thus far, while Goffin has got things done in three sets in both of his last 2 matches, including beating the big serving Ivo Karlovic without needing a tiebreak – he broke him four times and won 37% of receiving points in that one!

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
David GoffinMatch Winner13/17Unibet

Day 7 – Sunday 22nd January

Mona Barthel v Venus Williams   Winner

Venus Williams has been good to me so far this tournament and I’m going to trust the 36 year old again when she faces Mona Barthel in the fourth round.

The pair have met twice before, with the Amercian winning all 4 sets between them, but the most recent was three years ago, so it’s hard to draw too much from those.

Over the past two seasons, Williams has a 20-6 (77%) record on hard courts against players ranked 10th-50th compared to Barthel’s 5-6 (45%). Against players ranked 50th-100th Williams is 56% and Barthel is 39%, so there appears to be a reasonable difference in ability between the pair.

Finally, Williams has lost just 17 games in her opening 3 matches, while Barthel has lost a less impressive 30. Available at 1/2, Williams looks a fair play to me.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Venus WilliamsMatch Winner1/2Boylesports

Day 6 – Saturday 21st January

Benoit Paire v Dominic Thiem   Loser

Dominic Thiem is a 2/7 favourite when he meets Benoit Paire, and I reckon that’s probably overrating his chances and would prefer to get with the Frenchman in this one at the stand-out odds of 10/3 with Bet365.

Thiem has made opening matches against Jan-Lennard Struff and Jordan Thompson look tougher than perhaps he should have, coming through each in four sets, and the world no. 8 is more at home on clay than the faster hard courts. Paire enjoyed an easy 1st round as Tommy Haas retired against him, although he also stumbled into the 3d round, beating Fognini in five.

Looking at their two year hard court records suggest this might be a tight battle – both have won exactly 71% of matches against players ranked 50th-100th, while Paire has a 43% win record vs those ranked 10th-50th, compared to Thiem at 38%.

In a match which could be close, I would much prefer the 10/3 on the outsider.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Benoit PaireMatch Winner10/3Bet365

Gael Monfils v Philipp Kohlschreiber   Winner

Gael Monfils has never reached a Grand Slam final, but his chances of changing that were handed a boost as Novak Djokovic crashed out on Thursday. He may still need to beat Nadal, Raonic and Dimitrov to achieve it, but he may be beginning to dream.

First of course he needs to overcome Philipp Kohlschreiber, but I think he could make light work of the German – and he holds a superb 12-2 head to head record.

Monfils has the best 2 season record against players ranked 10th-50th in the entire tournament – winning 89% of those matches for a 24-3 record, and he should be trusted to improve that record further. I suggested a 3-0 win for Monfils in the last round, and he just failed to deliver after winning the opening two sets, but I’m going to keep the faith in the Frenchman with the same bet in this one at best odds of 8/5.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
 Gael Monfils 3-0Set Betting8/5Unibet

Day 5 – Friday 20th January

Bernard Tomic v Daniel Evans   Loser

I went all patriotic yesterday in proposing Kyle Edmund as a value selection, but just to prove I can separate head from heart, I’m backing a disappointment for British readers in the third round encounter between Bernard Tomic and Dan Evans.

Over the last 6 months, results leave us struggling to separate the pair, but Tomic has so much more experience at this level, the odds suggest a play on the home favourite makes sense. Over the past 2 seasons, Evans has played just 18 matches againt Top 100 opponents on hard courts, while Tomic has played 54, and as far as experience on in Melbourne goes, the Australian Open courts have welcomed the Aussie on 18 encounters, while Evans has just 3 matches under his belt here.

Available at 8/11, Tomic will have a partisan home crowd urging him onwards, and should be trusted to get the job done against Evans.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Bernard TomicMatch Winner8/11Paddy Power

Eugenie Bouchard v Coco Vandeweghe   Loser

In the ladies I like Eugenie Bouchard as she faces Coco Vandeweghe. They met two years ago in the BNP Paribas, where Bouchard came out the 63 62 victor, and I see no reason why the same outcome should not be expected in this one.

Bouchard has 10 victories under her belt already on these courts, for just 3 defeats, whilst Vandeweghe has won just 2 matches in her last 4 visits. The most compelling stat leading us to this bet however is the comparable record between the pair against players ranked between 50 and 100, Bouchard has won 16 of her 22 against those players, while Vandweghe is just 7-7. All in all it looks a sound bet at 8/13.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Eugenie BouchardMatch Winner8/13Paddy Power

Ying-Ying Duan v Venus Williams   Winner

I tipped both Yin-Ying Duan and Venus Williams in the second round, but am forced to declare sides now as the pair meet in the 3rd round – and it is the American who I fancy to get the job done easily. With a 20-6 winning hard court record vs players ranked 10th-50th, she remains a real force, while Duan’s comparable stat is just 2-7.

Williams is a former finalist here of course, although that was way back in 2003, while Duan is into her first Grand Slam 3rd round, having never progressed beyond the first round before. She’s probably amongst the weakest players left in her part of the draw, and Williams will come into this confident of a quick win.

Back Williams to win 2-0 is the advice in this one at 6/5.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Venus Williams 2-0Set Betting6/5BetVictor

Day 4 – Thursday 19th January

Pablo Carreno-Busta v Kyle Edmund   Loser

I’m going all patriotic with my first pick for Day 4, and supporting Kyle Edmund to reach the third round at the expense of Pablo Carreno-Busta. Edmund has been flying up the rankings over the past year, up from 102 at this point 12 months ago to 46th now. Carreno-Busta has been moving up too, climbing from 67th to 31st over the same period, but it is Edmund who has been the more convincing man on hard courts over that time.

In fact, looking at their results against players inside the top 100 (but excluding any in the elite Top 10) – Edmund has a 13-3 winning record over the past year on hard courts and 21-12 overall, while Carreno Busta is 12-6 on hard and 26-15 overall.

After struggling past Peter Polansky in a long five set match, Carreno Busta may be feeling drained, while Edmund progressed swiftly against Santiago Giraldo, and at a shade under even-money, I fancy Edmund is a little value in this one.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Kyle EdmundMatch Winner10/11William Hill

Gael Monfils v Alexandr Dolgopolov   Loser

Gael Monfils goes into his match with Alexandr Dolgopolov as a solid 2/9 favourite with most bookmakers, and it’s hard to argue with that appraisal – in fact, he might even be a touch underrated at those odds.

He’s won 7 of the 8 sets played between the men previously and looks much better prepared for this one after cruising past Jiri Vesely 62 63 62 in just 92 minutes, while Dolgopolov was on court for almost twice that time as he battled past Borna Coric.

Dolgopolov had previously lost eight consecutive matches, dating back to July, so while he will have been relieved to get a win under his belt, the prospect of Monfils in the next round is a daunting one.

11 of the Frenchmans last 12 Grand Slam wins have been completed in just three sets, so I’m willing to back him to win 3-0 here at 13/10 confidently.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
 Gael Monfils 3-0Set Betting13/10BetVictor

Danka Kovinic v Timea Bacsinszky   Winner

In the Ladies I fancy Timea Bacsinszky to come out ahead of Danka Kovinic with the 2-0 available at 13/11.

Kovinic has lost 12 of her last 13 matches on hard courts against Top 50 and there remain big doubts about her ability to cut it against the better players in the ladies game. Over the past two season’s she has a 0-3 record vs Top 10 players on Hard Courts, 1-9 vs those ranked 10th-50th and 3-6 vs the remainder of top 100 players.

Bacsinszky, by contrast, is 2-7 versus top 10, 11-8 versus 10th-50th and 9-4 against the remainder. It’s a stark difference, and I expect the Swiss to win easily in this one.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
 Timea Bacsinszky 2-0Set Betting13/11Unibet

Day 3 – Wednesday 18th January

Alison Riske v Shuai Zhang   Loser

Shaui Zhang made light work of Aliaksandra Sasnovic in the first round, and I expect her to go from strength to strength when she faces USA’s Alison Riske in Round 2.

The pair have met four times before, with Zhang winning both previous Hard Court matches – most recently when she edged out a three set match in Beijing at the tail end of 2016. Although the pair are tied 2-2, Riske did win one of her matches by retirement, but that was back in 2012 so causes no concern.

Zhang picked up nearly twice as many rankings points in Hard Court events last season than Riske, with each player entering 16 contributing events, and holds a much loftier world ranking – 23rd compared to 42nd.

At a shade of odds-on, Zhang looks the pick here.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Shuai ZhangMatch Winner5/6Boylesports

Stefanie Voegele v Venus Williams   Winner

Staying with the Ladies, Venus Williams should be relied upon to take advantage of Stefanie Voegele’s tough schedule over the past few days.

The Swiss World no. 112 has to navigate qualifying in order to secure her place in the main draw, and she was taken the distance in all 3 matches, as well as against Kurumi Nara in the first round proper – a total of 111 games in a five day period.

Venus, by contrast, skipped her second round match in Auckland meaning she’s had her feet up, and she came through her first round match with Katereryna Kozlova in a shade under two hours.

It’s been a long time since the pair met, with Venus winning all four sets – but the most recent was back in 2010 so we can’t read much into them. Instead we should look at their two season hard court records. Against players ranked from 10th-50th Williams is 20-6, while Voegle is 1-6 for instance, while at the top end, the Swiss has played just a single match against Top 10 opposition, while Venus has played 12.

Back Williams to win this one 2-0 at best odds of 4/5 with BetVictor is the advice.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Venus Williams 2-0Set Betting4/5BetVictor

Varvara Lepchenko v Ying-Ying Duan   Winner

I tipped Ying-Ying Duan in the first round and am staying with her when she meets Varvara Lepchenko in the 2nd round, whom I believe may count herself somewhat fortunate to still be in the competition.

Lepchenko beat Bertens in the 1st round, but it was a game of missed opportunities for Bertens as she only managed to convert 3 of 15 break point chances. Lepchenko came through that one 7-5 7-6, so those could have been crucial.

Duan and Lepchenko met just last week and that’s the main reason behind my tip today. Duan dominated the American in that one, winning 60% of points (64 v 44) in that match, and in truth it was a thrashing. Duan won 34 of 65 receiving points, while Lepchenko managed just 13 of 43 against the Duan serve.

A repeat of those stats would make the even money available on Duan look huge, so I’m very willing to back the Chinese for a second round in succession.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Ying-Ying DuanMatch WinnerEvensBet365

Day 2 – Tuesday 17th January

Frances Tiafoe v Mikhail Kukushkin   Winner

My first tip for Tuesday is on the little known Frances Tiafoe, who is on the verge of breaking into the Mens Top 100 despite being just 18 years old. He has already been breaking a few records as a junior – becoming the youngest ever boys champion in the Orange Bowl, while his participation in the French Open last year as a wild card saw him enter as the 2nd youngest ever American participant (after Michael Chang).

This will be a big step up for the youngster, who until now has played just 23 times against Top 100 ranked players with a 9-14 record, but it looks to be a great time to play Mikhail Kukushkin. Over the same time frame, the Kazahkstanian has been just 17-37 against Top 100 players, while he has also lost 11 of his last 13 matches in all events since injury at Wimbledon.

He lost to Alex de Minaur (ranked 351) and Matthew Barton (198) in warm up for this event – matches he was expected to win, while Tiafoe came through qualifying for his place in the first round. At 8/13 I fancy Tiafoe to get his first Grand Slam win.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Frances TiafoeMatch Winner8/13BetVictor

Yoshihito Nishioka v Alex Bolt   Winner Loser

My next bets come against the home crowd, as I side with Yoshihito Nishioka to beat Alex Bolt. The Australian is currently ranked a lowly World Number 631, making him the lowest ranked player in the event, while the Japanese Nishioka is ranked at 100.

Bolt’s record against lower ranked players looks unpromising here – he is 23-15 over the past two seasons against players ranked 100-300, and that compares poorly to Nishioka on a similar metric – he is 52-20 and 30-10 on hard courts in particular.

There will be a class difference between the pair here – indeed Bolt even took nine months away from tennis in 2015 after slipping down the rankings and struggling to make the game work for him. I suspect that this could be one way traffic – take the 1/2 about Nishioka winning, and also the 9/4 for him to win in straight sets.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Yoshihito NishiokaMatch Winner1/2BetVictor
Yoshihito Nishioka 3-0Set Betting9/4BetVictor, Coral

Maria Sakkari v Anett Kontaveit   Loser

In the Ladies I am keen on Annett Kontaveit as she takes on Maria Sakkiri.

The Estonian looks a better player all round in my eyes, so it’s surprising to see her offered at 13/10 to win this one. She holds a 2-1 head-to-head advantage – each of those being played last season – and Kontaviet went off as a strong favourite in both of their previous hard court matches (1/2 and 2/7), so being offered at odds-against looks pretty huge to me.

Sakkiri is 11-24 against Top 100 players over the past two seasons (and 6-15 on Hard Courts), while Kontaveit is a much more appealing 26-27 and 18-15 on hard courts. The one doubt about Kontaveit is that she comes into this match completely fresh, having played no warm up matches, but she will surely have been making up for it on the practice courts and at 13/10 she looks a big bet to me.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Annett KontaveitMatch Winner13/10Bet365, BetVictor

Day 1 – Monday 16th January

Andrey Rublev v Yen-Hsun Lu   Winner

I will open my Aussie Open account by taking a chance on qualifier Andrey Rublev coming out on top of Yen-Hsun Lu – a match of youth versus experience.

We don’t know a huge amount about Rublev, given he has played most his tennis to date on the Challenger Tour, but he’s got the results to move him up to 156th in the world at the tender age of 19, and he’s had some pretty decent scalps over the past 12 months including Benoit Paire, Jeremy Chardy, Robin Haase & Mikhail Kukushkin.

He’s 7-10 vs Top 100 players over the past 12 months – which compares favourably to Lu (6-11) – and he also has the advantage of 3 qualifying matches under his belt.

Lu was playing reasonably well at the tail end of last season – but he was also down on the Challenger Tour, so it’s really what we should have expected of him, and he should hold no massive fear for Rublev.

I suggest backing Rublev in this one at the stand-out odds of 12/5 with Boylesports.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Andrey RublevMatch Winner12/5Boylesports

Malek Jaziri v Go Soeda   Winner

I am confident that class should separate Malek Jaziri when he meets Japanese Go Soeda. Jaziri is ranked almost 100 places higher in the world and was a respectable 16-21 against Top 100 players in 2016, while Soeda was a much less appealing 2-9.

Soeda has forged out a decent career, but at 32 his best days are behind him – while for Jaziri he seems to be experiencing a bit of a twightlight spell in his, and he should be backed to reach the second round. The pair haven’t met since 2012, so there isn’t really any head-to-head to influence my call, and this should just come down to who can produce the best tennis on the day – and I’m confident in the Tunisian’s abilities.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Malek JaziriMatch Winner4/6BetVictor, Ladbrokes

Ying-Ying Duan v Rebecca Sramkova   Winner

In the Ladies, I like Ying-Ying Duan, and not just because she’s got a funky name! She takes on youngster Rebecca Sramkova and there are a couple of reasons to suggest the Chinese player should be trusted – despite the promise shown by her opponent.

Firstly, their choice of surface where possible are polar opposites – Duan has played an astonishing 92% of her career games on Hard Courts, while Slovakian Sramkova has only ever played 32 games on the surface (just over 10% of her career matches).

Sramkova came through qualifying safely – but she did not have to do an awful lot in all honesty, so there are still plenty of question marks about her ability at this sort of level and it could easily have come a year or two early for her.

Duan reached the quarter finals in Syndey in warm up for this event, succumbing to my outright tip – Radwanska. She was a 7/1 shot to win that match, so it was hardly surprising she came up short and this match will be a much easier affair altogether.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Ying-Ying DuanMatch Winner8/11Ladbrokes

Ashleigh Barty v Annika Beck   Loser

It’s a surprise to see Annika Beck as long as 13/8 to beat 20 year-old Ashleigh Barty, and it’s possible that the price at Bet365 is longer than it should be for two reasons.

Beck in in the midst of a pretty poor run, losing 8 of her last 9 matches, but she has played some pretty handy opponents in that run including Konta, Bencic, Cibulkova and Bertens twice, and so I am more than willing to forgive that form.

Secondly, although Barty will be playing in front of her home fans here, her distinct lack of experience at this level could make that more of a hinderance than a help.

Ranked down in 232nd in the world, Barty has played just 7 matches against players in the Top 100 in her career, compared to over 60 matches for Beck against Top 100 players over the past two seasons, with a 22-40 record. She’s also ranked 53rd in the world, so there is a vast gulf between the pair.

This could be a competitive affair, but I can’t have the experienced Beck as outsider in this one at all and so recommend you back Beck at those stand-out odds of 13/8.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Annika BeckMatch Winner13/8Bet365

Stefanie Voegele v Kurumi Nara   Loser

Kurumi Nara can extend her impressive head-to-head record vs Stefanie Voegele when the pair meet for the second successive Grand Slam. Nara came out a 6-0 7-5 winner at Flushing Meadows last year and in doing so maintained a 100% record in sets against the Swiss. She is now 8-0 up through their careers.

She scores higher on all the metrics I look at, with a better Hard Court ranking (48th v 165th) and a much better record against players ranked 10th-50th on the surface (38% v 16% over the past two seasons).

Additionally, Voegele somewhat stumbled into this event, qualifying – but only after three matches which went the distance against players ranked around the 200 mark on each occasion. She could come unstuck here and Nara looks value at odds of 3/4.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Kurumi NaraMatch Winner3/4BetVictor