After watching qualifier Emma Raducanu defeat fellow unranked player Leylah Fernandez in the 2021 U.S. Open women’s singles final, it was clear that anything goes in the women’s Grand Slam singles event, especially in the midst of a global pandemic.
Just three top-10 seeds reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals. Few are expecting a repeat of that in Australia but Raducanu’s run should give underdogs the belief that it can be done.
There hasn’t been much movement in the odds since the tournament started, and although some seeded players have already been upset, including American Coco Gauff, none of the pre-tournament favorites have stumbled yet.
Here’s a look at some of the top contenders on the women’s side.
Barty Hopes to Delight Home Crowd
The odds for the 25-year-old native of Queensland, Australia, haven’t changed since her home tournament began. Barty has won singles titles at both the French Open and Wimbledon and also won a doubles title at the U.S. Open. She’s been knocking on the door in Australia, reaching the semifinals in 2020 and advancing to the quarterfinals in 2019 and 2021.
There are five potential singles matchups with a money line ranging between +1400 and +2500 and all of them involve Barty.
It is certainly understandable seeing the way Barty dispatched a pair of qualifiers in the first two rounds. She dropped a total of three games in the straight-set wins.
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) January 19, 2022
Don’t Count Out Osaka
Former world No. 1 and Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka opened at +500 so there has been a slight shift in her tennis odds to +550.
Osaka’s schedule has been a bit on the lighter side as she took time out for mental-health concerns. She is seeded 13th despite winning two of the last three Aussie Open women’s singles titles. She is also a two-time U.S. Open champion and, when she is at her best, there may not be a player in this field that can stop her.
Osaka has a bit of an all-or-nothing track record in the hard-court Grand Slam events. She followed up her two U.S. Open titles with exits in the third and fourth round, while a third-round departure came between her two championship runs in Australia.
Osaka has played solid but not spectacular tennis so far. She dropped 10 games in her first two matches. A potential Round of 16 showdown with Barty awaits and that could be something to behold.
Swiatek Eyes Card-Court Success
The 20-year-old Iga Swiatek (+1000) has held firm as the No. 3 choice in the tournament according to the Las Vegas odds and her odds haven’t changed since the tournament started.
The No. 7 seed went down a break early in her opening match against Harriet Dart before rolling to a 6-3, 6-0 win. The 2020 French Open champion has struggled to reach the second week in the hard-court Grand Slams, and a change of coaches does leave some who bet online with some reservations.
Badosa Ready for Long Stay?
Paula Badosa (+1100) had advanced to the quarterfinals just once in her first 10 Grand Slam main-draw appearance. She won one match in her previous three Australian Open appearances so she would be a risky pick for those who bet online.
Veterans Seeking Breakthrough Performances
Anett Kontaveit (+1200): A battle with glandular fever played a role in Kontaveit dropping out of the top 100 just six years ago. She has worked back into the mix. She had 10 first-round exits in her first 19 main draws at Grand Slam events before reaching the quarterfinals in Australia in 2020. She is looking to rediscover the magic from the 2020 run.
Barbora Krejcikova (+1600): The three-time defending Australian Open mixed doubles champion has struggled for results in singles in Melbourne. She lost in qualifying five years in a row and went out in the second round in 2020 and 2021. She has already delivered her best singles showing in Australia.
A third-round match with former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko could be tricky for Krejcikova.
Can Former Champions Rediscover Some Magic?
Garbine Muguruza (+1200): Muguruza tasted success with titles at the 2016 French Open and at Wimbledon in 2017, but in her next 10 Grand Slams, she advanced past the fourth round only once and that came on the French clay in 2018. She made a run to the finals at Australia two years ago and her title at the 2021 Tour Finals reminded everybody what she is capable of.
There has been a slight drop in her odds since the start of the tournament.
Simona Halep (+1400): Halep’s seven-year streak of finishing in the top five in the WTA’s year-end rankings ended in 2021 when she finished at No. 20. The former world No. 1 played in just four of the eight Grand Slams in 2020 and 2021. The 2018 French Open champion and winner at Wimbledon in 2019 has enjoyed the most success at the Grand Slams in the last couple years at Australia with a semifinal appearance in 2020 and a trip to the quarterfinals in 2021.
Emma Raducanu (+1600): The reigning U.S .Open champion became the first female from Great Britain to win a Grand Slam title since Margaret Wade in 1977.
She didn’t face a seeded player until the quarterfinals in New York and now she is being looked upon as a dangerous competitor in this field.
Flying Under the Radar
Aryna Sabalenka (+2000): Currently ranked No. 3 in the world, Sabalenka seems to be a bit of an afterthought in the field despite advancing to the fourth round in Australia last year and following that up with semifinal appearances at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
She had to fight her way past Australian Storm Sanders in a three-set match earlier in the tournament. She headed into the event with odds of +2500.
Madison Keys (+2000): With Serena Williams not in the field, many of the American hopes will ride on Keys. Her results in the Grand Slams have been pretty underwhelming in the last couple years. She hasn’t made it to the quarterfinals in Australia since 2018, but she has the type of game where she can hit her way into or out of title contention in any event.
Keys was impressive in a first-round win over seeded American Sofia Kenin, the Australian Open women’s singles champion in 2020. Her odds before the tournament were +2500.