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Petra Kvitova a Surprising Favorite to Win Australian Open

With the health issues of the formerly dominating Venus and Serena Williams, women’s tennis is as wide open as it has ever been and there are probably more than a dozen players who could win the Australian Open. The tennis season’s first Grand Slam event begins Monday (Sunday night USA time) in Melbourne.
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Caroline Wozniacki is the No. 1 player in the world and the top seed for this tournament, but she’s only the sixth-favorite to win at 12/1 on Bovada’s tennis betting odds. Wozniacki seems to shrink from the moment in Grand Slams as she is the first No. 1 player in the world to have not won a major. She did reach the semifinals of two Grand Slams last year, including this tournament. Wozniacki has a minor wrist injury that required treatment during the deciding set of her quarterfinal loss at the Sydney International on Wednesday.
Because of Wozniacki’s defeat in Sydney, she could have lost the No. 1 ranking to Petra Kvitova if the Czech lefty had won that tournament, but Kvitova was beaten 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 by Li Na on Thursday in the semifinals. Still, Kvitova is the 5/2 betting favorite. The reigning Wimbledon champion and No. 2 seed has played the Australian Open only three times, with a best finish of the fourth round a year ago.
Serena Williams is the second-favorite to win at 7/2. Serena, who has been plagued by injuries for more than a year, pulled out of the Brisbane International last week after twisting her ankle while winning a second-round match. She will play but may not be 100 percent. Serena, seeded 13th, is a five-time champion of this tournament and has won the past two Aussie Open she played (missed last year). Sister Venus pulled out of this event earlier this week because of an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue and joint pain.
No. 12 seed Kim Clijsters, the defending champion, and Victoria Azarenka are at 13/2. Clijsters also has health concerns, pulling out of a warm-up tournament with a hip injury. She missed the final two majors last year due to injury. Azarenka, the third seed, looks for her first Grand Slam final appearance.
Aussie Samantha Stosur, the sixth seed, is 10/1 to win the tournament in front of her countrymen. She is the reigning U.S. Open champion but has never advanced past the fourth round here. Li Na is 12/1 with Wozniacki. Li reached the Australian Open final last year two weeks after winning in Sydney. She did event better at the next major, winning the French Open to become the first player from China to win a Grand Slam singles title. But she was an early out at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
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