Tue, Nov 6, 1:49pm by Staff Writer
Australia’s Ashleigh Barty has ended her 2018 season with a win at the prestigious WTA Elite Trophy event in Zhuhai, China.
The event features players ranked 11-20 in the world rankings and offers a prize pool to match some of the biggest non Grand Slam events on the WTA Tour.
The tournament follows a two-group round robin structure, with Barty progressing to the semi finals after defeating France’s Carolina Garcia and suffering a narrow loss to Aryna Sabalenka.
Barty fought back from a set down in her semi final against reigning champion Julia Goerges to win in three sets.
She then defeated home favourite Qiang Wang in the final 6-3 6-4.
It caps off a formidable season for Australia’s top ranked tennis player, with Barty winning the final of Nottingham and making the final in Sydney.
She is priced at $34 to win January’s Australian Open and will most likely be a seeded player.
Serena Williams made a return to tennis in 2018 and the former world number one featured in two Grand Slam finals, losing to Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka.
Williams is the $6 favourite to win the Australian Open, with Simona Halep the next best at $9.
Halep won her maiden Grand Slam title in Paris this year, but has suffered injury since the US Open and missed the WTA Finals in Singapore.
Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber ($11) and US Open winner Naomi Osaks ($11) are also leading the market, with 2017 champ Carolina Wozniacki priced at $13.
Rising Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka is a $17 chance after being priced at $34 a month ago.
The big hitting 20 year old is set to continue her assault on the WTA rankings next season and is a player well suited to the fast pace of Australian courts.
22-year-old Russian Karen Khachanov has won the most prestigious title of his young career taking out the final ATP Masters 1000 event of the season in Paris.
Khachanov defeated world number on Novak Djokovic in straight sets to claim his first Masters title.
The Russian had an impressive week, dropping just one set after surviving match points in the round of 16 against John Isner.
He has moved up to a new career-high 18th in the ATP rankings and finished the 2018 season strongly with a win in St Petersburg last month.
Khachanov is priced at $34 to win the Australian Open and is one of a number of young players set to challenge the established brigade in men’s tennis.
Novak Djokovic missed the 2018 Australian Open but made a resurgence in the second part of the season, winning Wimbledon and the US Open.
He is a short priced favourite to add to his Grand Slam tally at $2.37 to win the 2019 Australian Open.
Roger Federer is next best at $5, with Rafael Nadal a $5.50 chance.
Injury cruelled Andy Murray’s season, with the Brit a $13 shot.
German Alexander Zverev has failed to deliver in Grand Slam events so far in his career and is a $13 shot.
Leading the market for Australian players is Nick Kyrgios at $17. After a very poor 2018 season, Kyrgios will be unseeded at the Australian Open and offers little value at that price.
The Davis Cup will be contested for the final time in its current format when Croatia and France meet at the end of November.
Croatia are $1.72 favourites to win the tie, with the reigning champions France priced at $2.
In the Fed Cup, the Czech Republic are overwhelming $1.14 favourites to claim victory against the United States who are priced at $4.50.
The USA team will be without the Williams sisters, Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens for the away tie.
Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas is a $3.10 shot of winning the season ending event for 21 and under players in Milan this week.
Australia’s Alex De Minaur leads the market in group B at $4.50, with American Francis Tiafoe priced at $5.50.
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