The WTA Tour is well poised and entering a very exciting phase, consisting of a fascinating mix of aging, but still dominant legends, and fearless newcomers.
Last season underlined this fact when four different winners won the Grand Slam events, despite Serena Williams dominating with seven WTA Tour titles.
Top seed and five-time Australian Open champion, Serena Williams, is unquestionably the favourite to lift a nineteenth Grand Slam title of her career, however when you take into account the experience and form of Maria Sharapova, the arrival of the diminutive Simona Halep, the resurgence of a pair of former world number one ranked players in the shape of Ana Ivanovic and Carolina Wozniacki, the arrival of the new poster girl Genie Bouchard and the re-emergence of seven-times Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, younger sister Serena might very well not have things her own way Down Under.
It is no secret that if Serena Williams turns up, the rest of the field will be playing for the runners-up spot at this year’s Australian Open.
However despite winning 18-tour titles over the last two years, and the fact that she has won 18 of the 22 Grand Slam finals she has appeared in, ironically it is the biggest stage that seems to have represented the best opportunity of victory for her opponents over the last few years.
WBX has the American at 8/2, to clinch her first Australian Open title since she battled past Justine Henin in 2010, to lift her fifth title at Melbourne Park.
It is remarkable to think that the 27-year old Russian has spent more than half of her life to date playing on the WTA Tour.
Sharapova showcased some of her best form in years during the 2014 season, winning four-titles, including a second French Open.
Her preparation for the 2015 Australian Open, a tournament she last tasted success in way back in 2008, couldn’t have gone any better when she came from behind to defeat the same opponent from that Slam final, Ana Ivanovic, to lift the Brisbane International.
At 9/2 with WBX, the Russian looks primed to clinch a sixth Grand Slam title.
With nine-titles over the last two years, few would argue that the 23-year old Romanian is not only the most improved player on the WTA Tour, but that 2015 could very well be her breakthrough year on the Grand Slam stage.
With a title to her name already in 2015 at the Shenzhen Open, Halep justifies her status at 100/12 on WBX.
Well, it is tough to single out just one. The reason for this is that it is difficult to overlook a host of former world number one ranked players and Grand Slam winners in the shape of a resurgent Ana Ivanovic at 22/1, arriving off the back of four-titles in 2014 and a final at the Brisbane International last week, Carolina Woznizcki at 20/1 and double Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova at 9/1.
Despite the ladies draw oozing with talent, a real dark horse worth mentioning comes in the form of one of the oldest and most experience ladies on the tour, Venus Williams.
With 46-career titles to her name, including seven Grand Slams, the 34-year old American at 50/1, looks to have made a full recovery from a long standing illness, as illustrated when she defeated Carolina Wozniacki, to claim the Auckland Open, only her third WTA Tour title since February 2010.
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