Familiar faces dot the final five players who remain in both the men’s and women’s tournament in the first Grand Slam tennis event of the year this weekend. All of it adds up to what could be a fruitful weekend for Pro Tennis betting handicappers. Keep reading for info on all of the final matches that remain in both the men’s and women’s tournaments in Australia this weekend.
2012 Australian Open
When: Jan. 16 – Jan. 29
Where: Melbourne, Australia
Victoria Azarenka -150
Azarenka is currently ranked 3rd in the world, but she’ll have her hands full in the finals with Maria Sharapova. She’s rarely been in this position, making it to the semifinals at Wimbledon 2011 and the quarterfinals at both the 2009 French Open and the 2011 French Open. Azarenka had to rally to beat 8th ranked Agnieszka Radwanska to get to the semis. To me, that’s not exactly a great sign and she should not be the favorite in the match.
Maria Sharapova +105
Arguably the world’s most famous female tennis player, only Serena Williams could stake claim to the title, Sharapova is back to where she was before suffering a tough shoulder injury in late 2008, on top of the female tennis world. Sharapova is currently ranked 4th in the world and has 4 Grand Slam titles to her credit including winning the 2008 Australian Open. Her powerful two-handed back-hand is still one of the best in the women’s game and she’s on fire, dropping a single set and losing only 21 games en route to her first Australian Open finals since 2008. She’s the pick.
Best Bet: Maria Sharapova
Novak Djokovic -300
Djokovic comes in as a heavy favorite in his matchup against the number 4th ranked player in the world, Andy Murray. The top player in the world, Djokovic, won Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open in 2011. He’s gone only 11 and 4 since last year’s U.S. Open, but it’s obvious that he’s back on top of his game. The four time Grand Slam winner won’t march into the finals unscathed. He faces Andy Murray in the semifinals this weekend and that could pose a problem given his previous track record against his upcoming rival.
Andy Murray +200
Murray had a tough time versus Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals and that, more than anything, has to explain why the world’s #4 ranked player is at +200 in the sportsbook to defeat Djokovic. Murray, whose got former great Ivan Lendl in his corner, is 4 and 6 against Djokovic, who he faces in the semis, overall, but has beaten Djokovic 4 out of the last 6 times that the pair have met. That’s impressive. It’s not only impressive, but it sets Murray up as the underdog with a shot to take home the trophy this weekend. Murray is due to win a Grand Slam after finishing second at the Australian Open in 2010 and 2011 and making it to the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The man’s got a great shot at better than fair odds.
Best Bet: Andy Murray
Rafael Nadal N/A
Rafa is coming off another victory in the Nadal-Federer rivalry, which is one of the best in sports. Nadal has played brilliantly throughout this tournament considering that he’s injured. Not going the distance against Federer will help Rafa recover, as will having an extra day to rest while he awaits his next opponent. Expect Rafa to put up a great fight against either of his potential opponents in the finals of this year's Australian Open.
*Odds in this article are subject to change