Ray Flanagan with Women’s Australian Open tennis picks
thought for the day: I was happy with my tennis picking in 2018, having punted Kerber at Wimbledon and Osaka at the US open.
The Australian open gets underway in Melbourne this week and the women’s tournament is particularly interesting. With Serena Williams coming to the latter stages of he career , the standard at the top has evened out with at least a dozen players now with a realistic chance of winning the tournament.
I was tempted to side with Osaka out of allegiance but her recent form is patchy and she may find it difficult for a while with her new found spotlight.
No Australian woman has won since 1978 but they have a good chance this year with rising star Ashleigh Barty who has been one of the form players on tour in recent months. She triumphed over a strong field at China in November and played an excellent tournament recently at Sydney just losing out narrowly to Kvitova in a close final. A difficult quarter is slightly off putting but she is at the top of her game and is likely to be pumped up for her home Grand Slam. If she can get through her quarter, which means surviving a likely epic battle with Sabalenka, she could go on to triumph.
Madison Keys is risky but with the courts reportedly playing lightning fast it could suit her big serving power game. She has a decent record in the majors particularly at the US Open where she was a finalist in 2017 and again played well there in 2018 losing out in the semi final against an inspired Osaka on the night. While watching Osaka that night I was left with the impression that there is a major in Keys if she can sort her temperament. She has been drawn on the weaker side of the draw and might give supporters a good spin at decent odds.
1 pt ew- Ashleigh Barty-16-1 General
1 pt ew-Madison Keys-40-1 General