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11 Jan 24 17:18
Date Joined: 14 May 06
| Topic/replies: 8,867 | Blogger: Journeyman's blog
Currently 130s. Wozniavki is in the third quarter and she couldn't have designed it better with a spreadsheet. She doesn't have to play any of the fake big 3 (Iga/Saba/Rybakina) till the Semis and would only face Coco in the QF if Coco manages to navigate the threats in her section which include Leylah who imo is playing like number 7 or 8 player on the back of her heroics in Hong Kong and stepping up to leadership and being reliably clutch at the BJK Cup. Coco is very short at 7.8 for her actual achievements and I have to oppose her but I know RMB will be cheering her on to glory.

Rybakina is probably the rightful favourite, the loss she's just posted to Alexandrova can be essentially ignored (and if anything serves as proof that she means business here). She has evidently been putting in off season work as shown in her comfortable win a couple of weeks ago over the in form Noskova and then beating Sabalenka in some style. Pegula has a great chance though if Rybakina were to slip up before the QF. Speaking of Noskova I think she is a serious threat but I'm relieved she's not in Rybakina's quarter. Her first match against fellow Czech Marie is a matchup that hasn't been great for her in the past but if she gets through that I think she's going to announce herself for 2024 by taking down Iga in the third round. Overlooking Noskova on a hard court in Australia in January isn't a good idea.

Sabalenka should progress through the bottom quarter like a knife through butter but the Scooby sense says she won't. There are a number of candidates  for unexpected giantkiller including Vekic who has a 5-2 H2H, more importantly leads 3-2 on Hard and 2-1 in the last 3 years and more importantly still retains a burning hunger for slam glory.
Two longshots are Burrage who has been in terrible early season form but more fundamentally overcame what n88 described as her 'finishlineitis' in 2023 and her section is decent and would meet Sabalenka in the QF only if Sabalenka gets past the already mentioned giantkiller traps in her section. Burrage views herself as an aggressive player and was very disappointed with her one meeting with Sabalenka in New York. I think with her more fundamental issue now resolved she would make a better go if she can get to a rematch.   I'm also going for Parry (although as pointed out by a phorum poster who is very cycnical about Parry she faces a left hander in round 1, albeit a left hander she nearly beat last week). I think Parry has one of the best attitudes I've ever seen on a tennis player and is spongelike and learns from matches. Certainly underrated at 1000. I think she's going to push on in 2024 and she might start here.

Tournament winner

Caroline Wozniacki 130 (Nap) Laugh
Elena Rybakina 6.6 (Nb)

Value picks

Jessica Pegula 23
Leylah Fernandez 85
Donna Vekic 260 Surprised
Linda Noskova 210

Quarter picks
Q1 - Noskova
Q2 - Rybakina
Q3 - Wozniacki
Q4 - Vekic

Long Shots

Jodie Burrage 1000
Diane Parry 1000

Feel free to add your own dodgy selections.
Obviously if mes returns then his preview thread would take precedence but I'm assuming he's on an extended leave of absence.
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Report Journeyman January 11, 2024 6:06 PM GMT
Just to add on Wozniacki I believe her comeback in term of timing, breaking herself back in etc has been all about this one tournament. One glorious late period smash and grab attempt.

In an era where the narrative of womens tennis is that three players winning seven (7) slams between them have been referred to as the 'Big 3' in the way that three male players winning sixty six (66) slams between them are referred to as the 'Big 3', Wozniacki's record at the Australian Open is second to none. She has as much right as anyone on the tour (with the possible exception of Azarenka) to view it as her event.

Following that logic I'll add Azarenka to my list as value pick at 140. Her draw isn't bad and she avoids Iga and Noskova in the top quarter.
Report SamuelMertensBertens January 11, 2024 11:19 PM GMT
I find it funny that market had a slightly negative reaction to Rybakina's loss today, she went from 5.9/6 to 6.6. (I think the reaction was to that rather than the draw, can't confirm this 100%). Both times she won her Slams she had early exits the week before. She already showed in Brisbane that she's in good form so I wouldn't read anything into this loss.
Report brain dead jockeys January 12, 2024 7:38 PM GMT
swiatek is in a totally different class to any other womens player on clay and hardcourts. the way she dominated her opponents at the WTA finals in 2023 was crazy. she murdered them.
she has played in 10 hardcourt slams and only won 1. a very poor return given how dominant she has looked in master series hardcourt events at times. it is surely time for her to win the australian open. she has totally dominated gauff shen she has played her. u wouldnt back sabalenka to beat her would u? she s a dodge pot. 5/2 will look very big when this event is over.
Report Journeyman January 12, 2024 10:56 PM GMT
It's hard to imagine a more rickety first week for a number 1 seed than Iga's quarter. First round she plays the 2020 Australian Open champion. Second round she plays the 2016 Australian Open champion or DRC. Third round she plays Europe's hottest up and coming hard court player. In the fourth round it's likely to be Svitolina who knocked her out of a slam six months ago.

If she survives that her reward is Osty (who she can't beat, ever) or the Wimbledon champion. Then prime Rybakina in the semis and then in the final... Jodie Anna Burrage with Aryna's blood still on her teeth!! (jk it will of course be the 2018 Australian Open champion, golf hater and SI model... Woz!!)

Anyway 5/2 seems skinny to me BUT if she emerges victorious from all that we should all give her flowers and mad respect.
Report Journeyman January 12, 2024 11:08 PM GMT
I agree her record against Coco is extraordinary. 9-1 is annihilation stuff. She's a nightmare for smart pushers (so I would fear for Woz if Iga actually met her in the final ofc).
Report edy January 13, 2024 3:21 AM GMT
I like how you wrote "Second round she plays the 2016 Australian Open champion or DRC" instead of "DRC who will have come fresh off having beaten the 2016 Australian Open champion 1 and 0".
Report SamuelMertensBertens January 13, 2024 6:54 AM GMT
Jessie Pegula @JPegula
Unfortunately I woke up not feeling great. Really wish I could have played tonight. Hope I can be back next year. Thanks to the tournament for a great event

oh no, now I feel bad for Jess. Hope she fully recovers for Melbourne.
Report SamuelMertensBertens January 13, 2024 6:55 AM GMT
wrong thread, but actually somewhat on topic since you have Jess listed as a value pick.
Report Journeyman January 13, 2024 5:32 PM GMT
Journeyman 11 Jan 24 17:18
Obviously if mes returns then his preview thread would take precedence but I'm assuming he's on an extended leave of absence.

As mes has now returned from Highbury / Centre Parcs / his pool
and has posted an official preview thread, any further preview related posts should be posted on his thread.
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