The 2013 Australian Open begins tonight in Melbourne and as ever there are plenty of betting opportunities in the men's and women's draws on day one.
On the men's side tonight there are several of my potential first round upsets in action, but another one that I like is the [1.72] about Brian Baker progressing to the second round at the expense of Alex Bogomolov Jr.
In the last 12 months, the American-turned-Russian Bogomolov has an 8-25 record against top-100 ranked opposition and he was 3-16 against top-50 ranked players last season too.
I think it's fair to say that 2011 was Bogomolov's career year and at approaching 30 I doubt we'll see him back near the top-50, but Baker still has plenty left in the tank and is a far more consistent performer, as his record shows.
Last season Baker went 12-12 against top-100 ranked opposition and he enjoyed a good win over the much-hyped Jerzy Janowicz in Auckland last week, which shows that he's in the sort of form to deal with the considerably lesser threat of Bogomolov in their first career meeting.
In the women's draw tonight I'm backing Klara Zakopalova to continue her recent good form and defeat Chanelle Scheepers out on Court 15.
These two are also meeting for the first time tonight, but I would expect the recent improvement in the game and results of Zakopalova to lead to a win here at around [1.62].
The formerly very inconsistent Czech availed herself of the services of new coach Martin Nekola, who was charged with improving her serve at the back end of last season and in her first tournament of the year in Shenzen she reached the final, only going down in a decider to Li Na.
She can be forgiven a loss to Tsvetana Pironkova in Hobart after a tiring couple of weeks and with no ranking points to defend from a winless time in Australia 12 months ago she can play with a bit of freedom this fortnight.
Helpfully as far as betting is concerned, Scheepers tends to beat who she should beat and lose to those she should lose to, as her recent record shows. The favourite has won in 15 of her last 17 matches and I would suggest that that will continue tonight.
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