Australian Open Preview: Eight Grand Slam hopefuls
The first Grand Slam of the tennis season is well under way in Melbourne, and we can’t wait to see the Australian Open action unfold over the next week. Four names have dominated singles’ tennis over the years, but the competition is growing – especially on the WTA Tour where a group of young guns are now giving Serena Williams a run for her money.
Tennis betting is available at Grosvenor Sport, with outright betting and in-play betting on offer throughout the tournament. And we’ve taken a look at four of the best in each event. Are this year’s Australian Open winners among them? Read it quick – before they get knocked out!
Australian Open 2020: Men’s Singles
Novak Djokovic (Seeded #1)
Djokovic made the news during the build-up to the Australian Open for his complaints about the social bubble set-up ahead of this tournament, something which didn’t go down too well. But he’ll be looking to hit the headlines for all the right reasons over the next couple of weeks.
An eight-time winner of this tournament, the Djokovic is looking to make it three in a row at Melbourne for the second time – and he’s unsurprisingly the short favourite to do so. The Serbian loves it on the hard court and it’s hard to look past the World Number 1 to lift his 18th Grand Slam.
‘Nole’ hasn’t been at his best, but has managed to battle beyond Taylor Fritz, Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev. If he does find his true form in the last two matches, things could be ominous for the opposition.
Rafael Nadal (Seeded #2)
UPDATE: Spaniard stunned by super Tsitsipas
Rafa raced into a two-set lead against the Greek, making it 35 consecutive winning sets in Grand Slams. But Tsitsipas hung on in despite Nadal’s domination, eventually outlasting him to win 3-2 and reach the final four.
Nadal has literally won it all, but the Australian Open is a tournament that he’s found (relatively) tricky over the years. His sole win came back in 2009, but he has reached the final four times since and is therefore impossible to rule out.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner is relentless in pursuit of titles and in pursuit of a tennis ball. His pace and persistence – and ludicrously good forehand – mean he’ll take some stopping until he calls it a day.
Dominic Thiem (Seeded #3)
UPDATE: Thiem’s time is up!
The Austrian survived to knock out Nick Kyrgios in the match of the tournament, but maybe that 5-set thriller took it out of Thiem – he crashed out in straight sets to Grigor Dimitrov.
The Federer-Nadal-Djokovic combination has dominated men’s tennis for years, but Thiem is the ‘new’ man on the scene – and after several near misses, finally clinched his first Grand Slam last year with a stunning win in the US Open.
The powerful Austrian reached the final of this tournament last year and has every chance of going one better with his fierce groundstrokes and stubborn defence tailor-made to wear down his opponent.
Daniil Medvedev (Seeded #4)
The 4th seed has risen up the rankings over the last couple of years and has received high praise from his peers, with even Djokovic labelling the 24-year-old a ‘complete player’. Of course, the Russian still needs a lot of work to reach the levels of the very top. But that could start here.
Medvedev stands at an imposing 6’6” and has the power to compete with the very best, but he hasn’t got beyond Round 4 at Melbourne just yet. As the fourth seed, he’ll have to things the hard way and take down Djokovic, but he’s beaten him three times out of seven and the future is definitely bright.
Aside from a five-setter against Filip Krajinovic, Medvedev has sailed into the Semi-Finals with four straight-set successes.
Australian Open 2020: Women’s Singles
Ashleigh Barty (Seeded #1)
UPDATE: The hometown hope is out!
Barty was looking strong throughout the tournament and a 6-1 first set win against Karolina Muchova was no different. But Muchova turned things around, and it’s the number 25 seed who takes her place in the last four.
Australia’s great hope, Ash Barty, comes into the tournament as Number 1 seed and the favourite – but history is not on the side of the Queensland-born 24-year-old. No Australian has won this title since 1978, a 43-year-drought that the locals are desperate to see come to an end.
The 2019 French Open winner has reached the Quarters and the Semis respectively in her last two Melbourne outings and there are high hopes that this is her time. After a break from the game, Barty looked in as good a shape as ever when winning the warm-up WTA event. Could she finally give the hometown crowd something to cheer?
Naomi Osaka (Seeded #3)
Three-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka has only got beyond Round 4 once here in Melbourne, but she certainly made it count – going all the way to lift the trophy in 2019. The World Number 3 comes into the tournament as the bookies’ favourite and it’s easy to see why.
The Japanese star is unbeaten since last summer, which included a US Open victory, and she clearly has the ability to do the business on the hard court.
Osaka won the first three matches without dropping a set, but did have to come from one down to see off Garbine Muguruza in Round 4. It was back to business in the Quarters and now Serena awaits.
Sofia Kenin (Seeded #4)
UPDATE: We will have a new Australian Open Champion in 2021!
Kenin fell to Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-2 in Round 2.
One of the hottest properties on the tennis scene, Kenin had a 2020 to remember and is bidding to defend the title she won so impressively last year. Just 22 years old, the talented American won the Australian Open, in addition to reaching the French Open Final.
Kenin has the effortless ability to move her opponent around the court with an impressive array of shots in her locker. There is no doubt that Kenin is destined for a career at the very top. Retaining the trophy this year will already catapult her to greatness.
Serena Williams (Seeded #10)
Serena Williams is back looking for her eighth Australian Open title and her first Grand Slam win since she did it right here in 2017. While pregnant. That must go down as one of the greatest achievements in sporting history, but it’s another almighty accomplishment that the GOAT is back competing at the highest level at the age of 39 after a tough time since.
Williams has fallen just short in four Grand Slam finals since then and lost in Round 3 here last time out, but you can’t keep her down and she’ll be going all out in her bid for the record-equalling 24th Grand Slam.
Serena moved seamlessly into Round 3, dropping just five games in two matches, before defeating Ana Potapova, 7th seed Aryna Sabalenka and World Number 2 Simona Halep. Next up, Naomi Osaka.