QTR 1 Seeds (1.Azarenka, 21.Radwanska, 21.Lepchenko, 16.Vinci, 10.Wozniacki, 24.Pavlyuchenkova, 26.Wei Hsieh, 7.Errani)
Victoria Azarenka will be given every opportunity to go back to back in this tournament thanks to a soft draw she has received from being the world’s number one player. Put her in every multi you place until the semi finals as she is a class above these players.
Interesting first round game here is Wozniacki vs the German Lisicki. I wouldn’t back Wozniacki with my last ten dollars and can see an upset here in round one. Should Lisicki win that game she should be able to make the 4th round.
Watch out for Svetlana Kuznetsova who would be my tip to play Wozniacki in the quarters however I don’t like backing her in the hot conditions as her fitness is often a question.
Winner - Azarenka
One to watch – Lisicki
One to lay – Wozniaki
QTR 2 Seeds (3. S Williams, 28. Shvedova, 20. Wickmayer, 14. Kirilenko, 12. Petrova, 17.Safarova, 29.Stephens, 8.Kvitova)
Serena Williams won’t have to worry about the heat at Melbourne park until the quarter final as the draw has turned out quite well for her. Her two biggest dangers will come from the bottom of the group as Sloane Stephens an exciting youngster from the US will probably take on the 8th seed Kvitova. Stephens will be on the watch list for future slams as the youngest player in the top 40.
Kvitova has the strength to match Williams however in a relatively skinny group it should go to plan. Money can be made backing against Kirlenko who generally plays on the outside courts for her male adoring fans and has had a poor preparation for this slam.
Winner – Williams
One to watch – Sloane Stephens
One to lay – Maria Kirilenko
QTR 3 Seeds (4.Radwanska, 6.Na, 9.Stosur, 13.Ivanovic, 27.Cirstea, 18. Goerges, 22.Jankovic, Barthel)
Agnieszka Radwanska has made it no secret that she wants to break into the Grand slam winners club this here and after winning the Sydney title in style 6-0 6-0 & winning in Auckland the week before she arrives in hot form.
Each year she continues to improve at the Australian open and she has been dealt a good first few rounds here. Standing in her way at some point could be 2011’s runner up Li Na. Both these players are in good form and should fight out the group.
The don’t touch is obviously Sam Stosur who has a horror record in her home country and coming back from an injury will struggle in round 2. Keep an eye out for Ksenia Pervak to win her first round match against the 32rd seed Barthel whom she holds a 2-0 record over and won some impressive games in Brisbane.
Winner – Radwanska
One to follow – Pervak
One to lay – Stosur
QTR 4 Seeds (2.Sharapova, 5.Kerber, 30.Paszek, 19.Makarova, 11.Bartoli, 15.Cibulkova, 23.Zakopalova, 25.V Williams)
The bottom quarter is the toughest of them all and perhaps where money could be made. Sharapova is still too strong for any player below 25 in the rankings however she was vulnerable against the best last year and is still only a two time grand slam winner going into her ninth year on tour.
She should run into a rejuvenated Venus Williams in round 3 which will be a good test to see where she is at mentally. Angelique Kerber could be set for a break out year after a semi final appearance at Wimbledon however she looks to be underdone here and will hope for a tough match or two early to get firing. She does get a very soft draw though and should make it to the play off for this group.
Anabel Medina Garrigues was superb for us at the hopman cup and should be followed here, she meets Bartoli in round one. A special for round 1 is also Madison Keys from the USA who plays Australian struggler Casey Dellacqua
Winner – Kerber
One to follow – Garrigues & Keys
One to lay – Bartoli