The WTA tour was fiercely competitive last season and the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, looks wide open when it comes to the women's event.
Aryna Sabalenka to win @ 5/1
The women’s Australian Open is typically a more open affair than the men’s, which has been dominated by Novak Djokovic in recent seasons.
The last four seasons have produced four different winners of the Melbourne major with Sofia Kenin, Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty winning the first three of those before Aryna Sabalenka broke through to claim her maiden Grand Slam title last year.
Last season Sabalenka was a 4-6 6-3 6-3 winner over Elena Rybakina, who already had a Grand Slam title under her belt, in the final in Melbourne and she looks overpriced to repeat the feat this month.
World number one Iga Swiatek always garners the most attention in Grand Slam betting but she is arguably not at her best on the hard courts, having crashed out in the fourth round at both the US Open and Australian Open in 2023.
She at least finished the year on a high by winning the WTA Finals and that has likely played a part in her being so short in the betting for the Australian Open.
But she rarely shines down under and Sabalenka, who is fresh from a tremendous breakthrough campaign, can make her mark.
Last season Sabalenka enjoyed her best performances at each of the four Grand Slams, following her Australian Open triumph with semi-final appearances at the French Open and Wimbledon before finishing as runner-up at the US Open.
She also won 35 of her 44 matches on the hard surface last season and she looks a great pick at 5/1 to triumph in Melbourne.
Jessica Pegula each-way @ 16/1
Their affinity for the hard courts often means Americans impress in Melbourne and one player who could be in with a shout of winning the women’s Australian Open is US talent Jessica Pegula.
Given the vulnerability of world number one Swiatek, it looks like a pretty open Australian Open draw, meaning a handful of players have a decent shot of making the final and therefore offering each-way value.
Pegula is one of them, having been steady and consistent on the WTA tour last year, progressing to the last eight at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
As a result, she can now say she has reached the quarter-finals of all four Grand Slams, although she has made that phase at the Australian Open in 2021, 2022 and 2023.
She knows the courts in Melbourne well and loves the surface, and it could well be her time to make her mark on one of the biggest stages.