By David Caraviello | | 4 mins
Is Serena Williams the Bet in Wide-Open Australian Open 2020?
Serena Williams is the biggest name and the favorite to win the 2020 Women’s Australian despite being just an eighth seed. But Ashleigh Barty is the current No. 1 and Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep have the most recent Grand Slam victories, making for a vexing picture for tennis betting entering the Australian Open, which has been won by four different women in as many years. And there’s another factor to consider this year: the bushfires that have left Melbourne covered in a pall of smoke.
The air was so bad during qualifying that Dalia Jakupovic had to retire from her match due to a coughing fit and breathing difficulties. Another player, Eugenie Bouchard, required medical attention. It all creates an ominous picture surrounding the main draw, where there are contingency plans to play all matches indoors.
Who knows what impact that would have on the final result. Women’s tennis is unpredictable as it is, especially with one top player, U.S. Open champ Bianca Andreescu, out with a knee injury. For bettors trying to make sense of the chaos, they must decide if Williams’ odds have enough value or whether they should look in another direction. Here are your five best betting options to hoist the trophy in Melbourne.
2020 Australian Open Women’s Best Bets
|Serena Williams||+400||Bet it at Unibet|
|Naomi Osaka||+700||Bet it at BetMGM|
|Ashleigh Barty||+800||Bet it at PointsBet|
|Simona Halep||+800||Bet it at Unibet|
|Karolina Pliskova||+900||Bet it at PointsBet|
All odds current as of publication and subject to change.
Serena Williams, +400
At 38 and without a tournament victory in nearly three years, it would be easy to dismiss Williams as a contender. Then she went to New Zealand and won her first title since giving birth, dispatching a series of younger players to claim an Aussie tune-up.
Should she be the odds favorite in Australia? Probably not, given that she’s the No. 8 seed. But Williams remains a huge crowd favorite, and she clearly relishes the experience in Melbourne, site of her last Grand Slam championship in 2017.
Naomi Osaka, +700
Osaka’s 2019 Australian title ignited a career-best season for the 22-year-old. Though her Slams results the rest of the year were lacking, she closed 2019 by winning 11 straight matches until suffering a shoulder injury. Time off seemed to do the trick. Osaka showed no ill effects during a semifinal run in an Australian tune-up, regaining her form on the hardcourts that suit her game best.
Ashleigh Barty, +800
The player who should be the favorite is a great value choice for bettors. Barty is the total package: an Australian native, a Grand Slam champion, an exceptional hardcourt player and current world No. 1. The 23-year-old is coming off a breakthrough 2019 in which she won four titles, including the French Open. Though her Slam came on clay, her other titles and final appearances in 2019 were all on hardcourts. Potential negatives: the pressure of playing at home, and possibly a quarterfinal against Williams.
Simona Halep, +800
Although Halep reached the Australian final in 2018, it’s natural to question whether she’s a good bet in a hardcourt Slam given her success on other surfaces. Her two biggest titles have been the French Open and Wimbledon, and her match-win percentage on hardcourts lags behind her performance on clay and grass. Her last hardcourt tournament victory came a year and a half ago, in the summer of 2018. She also doesn’t have a huge serve, which perhaps works against her on a fast surface like that at Melbourne Park.
Karolina Pliskova, +900
Outside of Williams, perhaps no player has looked more impressive in Australian tune-ups than Pliskova, who marched through Osaka and Madison Keys to win in Brisbane. That continued a run which started in 2019, when the Czech rose to No. 2 in the world. Outside of a run to the U.S. Open final in 2016, though, her performance in Grand Slams has been spotty, with just one semifinal in the last two years (Australia in 2019). But the “Ace Queen” does possesses the game’s best serve, which is most effective on hardcourts.