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Federer, Konta and Zverev all targeting Australian Open success

Nick Murphy | 10 January 2018

Five players who could make a mark Down Under

The first Grand Slam of 2018 gets underway next week with the Australian Open from Melbourne.

Roger Federer will return to defend the crown he won last year, while Simona Halep is the favourite for the Women’s Singles in the absence of Serena Williams.

The Coral News Team have made their picks for the tournament and also hinted at what you have to look forward to Down Under.

Can Federer make history?

Roger Federer has won five Australian Open titles since his debut at the tournament in 2000. Last year’s hard-fought victory over Rafael Nadal puts him one away from the record, which is jointly held by Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson.

The Swiss has won five of his six finals in Melbourne. He goes into next week’s tournament as the number two seed and the 7/4 favourite ahead of rival Nadal. After a 2017 which harked back to Federer’s form of old, it would take a brave person to back against the 36-year-old following that up with another win in Melbourne.

Britain’s only hope

With Andy Murray set to undergo hip surgery, Johanna Konta is Britain’s only individual hope in Melbourne. The 26-year-old has reached the latter stages of the tournament in the last two years and is 18/1 with Coral to go all the way for the first time.  

However, Konta will need to reverse a run of poor results if she’s to challenge in Australia. The 26-year-old crashed out in the first round of the last Grand Slam tournament and was forced to retire from the Brisbane International last week.

The form suggests she shouldn’t play a part Down Under. But as tennis fans have seen before, the Sydney-native is not averse to pulling out a big performance when it matters most.

Zverev set for Grand Slam breakthrough?

Alexander Zverev enjoyed a stunning 2017. The 20-year-old German star rose from 24th to 4th in the ATP World Tour Rankings and capped a fantastic year with success in the Italian and Canadian Open.

It’s fair to say that big things are expected of the Hamburg-born star in the future. And the Coral News Team are wondering whether that expectation could come to fruition in Melbourne. Zverev is yet to really make his mark at a Grand Slam. A fourth round appearance at Wimbledon is as far as he’s gone at one of the four majors.

But as his quality and experience continue to grow, so too does the belief that one of tennis’ newest stars has what it takes to land one of the sport’s grandest prizes. He’s 10/1 for success Down Under.

Vandeweghe to get one over the line?

CoCo Vandeweghe was the nearly woman last season. The 26-year-old reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open this time last year, only to lose out in a deciding set to Venus Williams. She then made it to the semis of the US Open in September before crashing out to Madison Keys.

Sandwich in a quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon and it’s clear that Vandeweghe has the quality to challenge the top stars. If she can overcome her semi-final hoodoo, you get the feeling that she could go all the way. She’s a big-price at 25/1 to shock the field.

Jamie Murray at the double

Britain may only have one representative in the Single’s competitions, but Jamie Murray will be flying the flag in the Doubles. He partners Brazilian ace Bruno Soares looking to repeat their 2016 success against Daniel Nestor and Radek Stepanek.

Murray and Soares are an accomplished pairs partnership and should go close again as the fifth-ranked seeds. Their main competitors are the Polish-Brazilian duo of Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo.

All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication