It should come as a surprise to just about nobody to see who is listed as the favorite to win the women’s singles title at the 2023 Australian Open.
Iga Swiatek, the dominant force on the WTA Tour, is listed by the tennis betting lines as the heavy favorite to win the Australian Open championship for the first time.
There is an intriguing group of challengers behind the 21-year-old Swiatek. Fans who like cheering for familiar faces can still follow Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep, Victoria Azarenka, and Petra Kvitova. No. 2-ranked Ons Jabeur falls somewhere in between being a veteran and a rising star. She is 28 years old but, in terms of vying for the No. 1 ranking, she is still a relative newcomer.
The 2023 Australian Open is set to begin on Jan. 16, 2023.
Swiatek Looks to Build on Brilliant 2022 Season
Swiatek has a tough act to follow after winning six consecutive tournaments and embarking on a 37-match winning streak.
She will start 2023 the way she ended 2022 – and that is as the player to beat, especially after she won the US Open for the first time. She is 57-7 in 2022 with 43 of those victories coming in straight sets.
She reached the semifinals at Australia earlier this year after falling in the Round of 16 in the previous two years and followed that up by capturing the title at the French Open for the second time.
The tennis betting odds list Swiatek at +225 to win in Melbourne.
Halep, Osaka Hoping to Rediscover Past Glory
Former world No. 1s Halep and Osaka combined to win one title in 2022, and that came when Halep captured the championship in Toronto.
Halep reached the semifinals at Wimbledon, but she was 4-3 in the other three Grand Slam tournaments.
Osaka has lost five of her last six matches. She didn’t play at Wimbledon and was 2-3 in the other three Grand Slams.
When they are on, they can play with anybody. Their six combined Grand Slam singles titles are a testament to that.
Halep had a procedure to help with her breathing after she ran into difficulties at the US Open and admitted to feeling exhausted following her surprising first-round exit. Osaka has made her mental health the priority over the quest for more Grand Slam titles.
Those who bet online might want to keep an eye on the form of Osaka and Halep heading into that tournament. Osaka is currently at +750 and Halep at +900 in the odds to win the Australian Open.
Before that tournament gets underway, Osaka is looking to defend her title in Tokyo.
🇯🇵 @naomiosaka returns to Japan to defend her title at the Toray Pan Pacific Open!
Draws, storylines and more ⤵️
— wta (@WTA) September 17, 2022
Crowded List of Young Challengers
There is no lack of rising stars who could make waves in Australia.
Aryna Sabalenka, ranked seventh, comes in at +1000 even though she has never advanced past the fourth round in Melbourne. Second-ranked Jabeur, 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, and No. 8 Coco Gauff are not far behind at +1200.
Jabeur reached the finals at Wimbledon and the US Open so she could be close to securing her first Grand Slam title. Gauff advanced to the French Open final and US Open quarterfinals in 2022.
Fourth-ranked Paula Badosa and No. 6 Maria Sakkari are currently at +1400 in the championship odds according to the sportsbook. It is interesting that third-ranked Anett Kontaveit comes in at +2200 in the title odds, which is tied for 12th.
Handicapping the American hopefuls
Gauff is not the only American player who could make a run in Melbourne.
Jessica Pegula (+2000), Danielle Collins (+3300), and Madison Keys (+3300) have games that translate well to the hard courts. Pegula made it to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open in 2022. Collins was a finalist at Melbourne earlier this year while Keys is a former US Open finalist.
One Last Charge for Former World No. 1s?
Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber, Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza have all held the No. 1 ranking at one point.
Pliskova (+2200) has the best odds in Australia followed by Azarenka (+2500), Kvitova (+2800), and Muguruza (+2800) so there is still some star power left on tour even with the retirement of Serena Williams.
Canadian Bianca Andreescu has never reached No. 1, but the former top- five-player is worth watching with +1800 odds to win the title