Australian Open Women's Betting: Stopping Serena no easy feat for rivals

Can Serena secure her sixth Australian Open crown?
Can Serena secure her sixth Australian Open crown?

Last year undoubtedly belonged to Serena Williams, but Abelson Info are back to assess her chances at the Australian Open 2014 and pick out those capable of stopping her...

"As ever though, it remains to be seen whether or not she can be stopped in her pursuit of further glory with a whole host of young talent also standing in her way."

The world number one heads to Melbourne knowing that she can continue to make history over the next fortnight, with her coach stating this week that he believes she can become the first woman to win all four Grand Slams in the same year since 1988.

Williams will begin her quest against Australian wildcard Ashleigh Barty, and while she will be wary of any potential slip-ups, her path to the semi-finals looks fairly certain if she picks up from where she left off last year.

The top seed has predictably been installed as the favourite for the tournament at 1.794/5, and there aren't many who will argue against her adding to her Grand Slam collection.

Nevertheless, with Li Na, Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova and Sabine Lisicki amongst the top threats in her half of the draw, there is always the possibility of one of her big-hitting rivals finding their form and producing a stunning performance.

As ever though, it remains to be seen whether or not she can be stopped in her pursuit of further glory with a whole host of young talent also standing in her way.

Her conqueror last year, Sloane Stephens, has been drawn in the bottom half where she will likely contend with a star that is arguably most capable of preventing Williams from picking up yet another championship.

Second seed Victoria Azarenka is targeting a third consecutive Australian Open success and having dominated the early part of the last two years, the Belarusian will fancy her chances of making it a hat-trick of titles.

Similarly to her American rival, Azarenka should be fairly confident of overcoming the early hurdles, as she starts her tournament with a first round tie against Johanna Larsson.

However, looking further ahead there is a possible quarter-final meeting with Agnieszka Radwanska and there is the potential of a semi-final against the returning Maria Sharapova.

The third seed saw 2013 curtailed by injury woes as she struggled to stay healthy from Wimbledon onwards, but seemingly back fit and with a new coach in place, the Russian star will be hopeful of a more success in the 12 months ahead.

Naturally there are doubts over how far she will go in her first major tournament back, and with Williams defeating her in Brisbane earlier this month to extend her 10-year unbeaten run with 14 straight wins, it appears unlikely that Sharapova will be a threat if they face each other again.

However, the world number three was merely delighted with the fact that she could compete at a high level again, and with no expectations she could be a dangerous proposition.

With little value in Williams, look for Azarenka to be the most realistic competition but if you look at the 'weaker' quarters of the draw, both the ever-consistent Jelena Jankovic and dangerous Na Li will hope to make a deep run.

Recommended Bets:
Back Azarenka to win the Australian Open 2014 @ 6.86/1
Back Li to win the Australian Open 2014 @ 16.5
Back-to-lay Jankovic to win @ 85.084/1

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