Sun, Jan 8, 10:37am by Head Editor
The Women’s draw at the Sydney International will be a great indicator of who’s in form ahead of the first grand slam of the year, next week’s Australian Open.
World number one Angelique Kerber is favourite at $4.50 but with the draw boasting six of the world’s top 10, three major champions and a main draw cut-off of just outside the top 30, the 28-year-old will have to be at the top of her game.
The German wasn’t at the top of her game in Brisbane last week when she fell in the Brisbane quarterfinals. She has been handed a first-round bye but the going will get tough from as early as the second round.
There she could face fast-rising Russian teen Daria Kasatkina ($17 for the title)
Konta, an Australian-born Brit, is the game’s newest member of the top 10 after an impressive 2016 season and begins her Sydney campaign against a qualifier.
She could face a player who does represent Australia, Daria Gavrilova ($34) in the second round, who like Konta also faces a qualifier first up.
Defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, the fifth seed, looms as Kerber’s semifinal opponent.
The Russian veteran ($15) faces some hurdles of her own to reach the penultimate match though; a potential second-round battle against former US Open champion Sam Stosur ($51) would give way to a blockbuster quarterfinal against number three seed and reigning WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulkova.
Cibulkova ($13) kicks off against dangerous German Laura Siegemund and should she win that, would next face either Chinese No.1 Zhang Shuai or popular wildcard Eugenie Bouchard.
Fourth seed Karolina Pliskova, who reached last year’s US Open final and is currently undefeated in 2017 after storming into the final in Brisbane, is second favourite at $7 and has drawn has drawn American Sloane Stephens.
Caroline Wozniacki, who is storming back up the rankings – currently 19th – after falling outside the top 70 in 2016, opens against a qualifier and is rated an $11 chance.
She could face the winner of the match between number eight seed Elena Vesnina and Coco Vandeweghe in the second round.
A Kerber $4.50
K Pliskova $7.00
A Radwanska $7.00
J Konta $9.00
C Wozniacki $11.00
E Svitolina $11.00
D Cibulkova $13.00
S Kuznetsova $15.00
D Kasatkina $17.00
B Bencic $26.00
D Gavrilova $34.00
B Strycova $34.00
A Pavlyuchenkova $34.00
S Zhang $41.00
R Vinci $41.00
I-C Begu $51.00
C Vandeweghe $51.00
S Stosur $51.00
E Makarova $51.00
E Vesnina $51.00
S Stephens $51.00
L Siegemund $67.00
M Puig $67.00
E Bouchard $67.00
T Babos $67.00
Y Putintseva $67.00
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