Australian Open Betting: Super coach means Kerber is ready to rule again

Melbourne glory moment for Angelique Kerber in 2016
Melbourne glory moment for Angelique Kerber in 2016
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The Women's Tournament in Melbourne is wide open but Ralph Ellis reckons he's found the value bet...

"This morning in Sydney she came back for the second time from a set down, this time destroying Venus William 6-1 in the third to show her inner belief is back. She is now [5.3] to win the Sydney tournament"

When Wim Fissette lost his job coaching Johanna Konta it took him less than a month to find a new job. The phone rang with Angelique Kerber sending an SOS to save her status.

After winning two Grand Slams and an Olympic Gold in 2016, the German had crashed to number 22 following a disastrous 2017 and wanted a fresh start. Who better to turn to than Fissette?

Now a [13.0] shot for the Australian Open, if anybody could put her back together to be competitive at the tournament she won two years ago to start her golden season, it had to be him.

At just 37 years of age, the Belgian whose own tennis career reached a highest singles ranking right down at 1,291 is a man with a magic touch when it comes to turning top female players into champions.

His CV began when he stepped up from working as hitting partner with Kim Clijsters to become her coach, and transformed her into the world number one. And it has not stopped since.

He nursed Sabine Lisicki to a Wimbledon final, got Simone Halep who had never been beyond the last 16 of a Grand Slam to the French Open final, made Victoria Azarenka the world number one, then put Konta in the top four.

The results of the new combination are already impressive. She started her comeback at the Hopman Cup where she won all her singles matches, including a 54-minute demolition of Eugenie Bouchard.

Then this morning in Sydney she came back for the second time from a set down, this time destroying Venus Williams 6-1 in the third to show her inner belief is back. She is now [5.3] to win the Sydney tournament.

What was clear from this latest performance is that Kerber has rediscovered her love of the game in the few weeks she's been working with Fissette, and has also got her fitness back up to a high level.

She will be the player nobody wants to face in the early rounds at Melbourne, and has the capacity to get better as the tournament goes on.

Kerber, who will be 30 in the first week of the Australian Open, has clearly taken a good look at what went wrong last year and why. As well as employing Fissette she's taken on a new fitness coach.

She took five weeks off completely at the end of last year to regain her focus mentally, and is hungry to regain the heights she conquered such a short time ago.

"It is 2018, I'm looking forward to it, I'm just saying goodbye to the old year and looking ahead and not back," she said recently.

You only have to look at the market for the Australian Open to know there is no obvious favourite. Halep and Garbine Muguruza are the joint [9.4] favourites, with Karolina Pliskova [10.0] and Elina Svitolina [10.5] behind them.

A fit and focused Kerber will be a huge danger to any of them, and at [14.0] looks outstanding value - especially as she now has the game's brightest coaching influence to back her up.


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