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Sunday, 3 February 2013

Australian Open 2013 Recap

The first Grand Slam of the season finished less than a week ago and it has already given us a taste of what is to come as far as I am concerned. Some things haven't changed in the last twelve months with both the defending Champions retaining their titles, but there were some breakthrough performances and it does whet the appetite for the coming season.

In terms of the tournament from the picks point of view, it was the worst Grand Slam performance since this blog has been started and am hoping that isn't the start of things to come. It could have been a lot worse if it hadn't been for the final few days of the tournament with winning picks from both the Women's and Men's Finals.

Andy Murray is the second best player in the World, but winning another Grand Slam won't come easy to him: I said at the US Open that I wouldn't have expected Andy Murray to beat Novak Djokovic if he had played the second Semi Final as the scheduling at that Grand Slam for the Men's tournament have always put the winner of the second Semi Final in a tough spot.

Before I go on, I don't want anyone thinking I don't like Andy Murray... In fact, I am a big fan of the Scot.

But I do think there is something still not quite right with his performances to add another Grand Slam to his name, especially not with the upcoming return of Rafael Nadal.

The problem I have with Murray is that out of the top four players, he is the one that seems to have a really 'low' period in the big matches, a period when he seems to fall away. While Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer are a lot more consistent with their level, Murray does seem to lapse and this why some of his Grand Slam defeats haven't been the heartbreaking losses that the likes of Federer have suffered, but more a fall away.

I know some will blame his body breaking down at a critical moment, but I am not buying that, nor am I buying the fact that he had to play the second Semi Final as there is still a day rest and he had been in a 'short' five-setter.

As I say, Murray is still the second best player in the World in my opinion, and his lapses won't affect him in the majority of tournaments he plays, but winning a Grand Slam with that still happening is unlikely to happen twice, barring real scheduling help.

New breed of players on the WTA Tour: The Woman's game has evolved in recent years into bringing a lot of power onto the Tour and that has meant that players are making their big breakthrough as they get older and the teenage sensations are likely a thing of the past.

However, the performances of Heather Watson, Laura Robson and Sloane Stephens has shown that there are some very good players coming up as the Woman's game is being replenished. The veterans like Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams remain at the top of the game, while Na Li had another sensational tournament, but the youngsters are starting to make inroads.

The big question is which of the trio I mentioned is going to win a Grand Slam tournament? I think Stephens and Robson will find a way to win one of the Majors, but I am not sure Heather Watson will be able to avoid playing someone that will eventually be strong enough and consistent enough to knock her over before she completes a Major win.

If I was going to compare the players with some of the top ones in the World, I would say Stephens is a little like Victoria Azarenka (I don't mean she will definitely reach that level, but her game is similar), Robson reminds me of Petra Kvitova and Watson could perhaps have a career like Caroline Wozniacki.

However, these players are young and development is still the key for them.

Serena Williams is still the best female player on Tour, but can be vulnerable in Grand Slam tournaments: Over the last 14 months, Serena Williams has been pretty much the favourite for every Grand Slam tournament she has played and rightly so.

However, the Australian Open proved yet again that Serena plays one poor match a tournament and thus is likely going to be too short for the majority of occasions when she is priced at less than 2.20 to win a tournament.

Over the last 5 Grand Slams, Ekaterina Makarova, Virginie Razzano and now Sloane Stephens have been able to do enough to knock out Serena, while Jie Zheng pushed her all the way at Wimbledon last year.

That should be a bit of caution for those that like the American in the outright markets going forward, particularly at her worst Major which is the French Open.

Australian Open Final: 18-26, - 8.59 Units (87 Units Staked, - 9.87% Yield)

Season 2013- 2.62 Units (133 Units Staked, - 1.97% Yield)

Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

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