Caroline Wozniacki looks a big price at 66/1 with Paddy Power to end 2017 Tennis season as World Number 1 while there is value to save on Petra Kvitova and Belinda Bencic.
If you have a taste for long-term punts, then there's a pretty good line available with Paddy Power with women's tennis specials. Caroline Wozniacki is priced at 66/1 to finish 2017 as the top-ranked women's player. I can't quite call her chances of doing so great; however I see her as much more in the mix for the World No. 1 than what 66/1 implies.
There are a several points to consider when evaluating Wozniacki's chances of finishing 2017 as the top-ranked women's player. First and foremost, her form to close out 2016 was strong. She started the season injured, but appeared to work through her problems in time for an impressive US Open run to the semifinals. What followed thereafter were titles in Hong Kong and Tokyo. From the start of the US Open to the end of the season, the Dane also scalped four top-ten players and seemed to look like her old self again for significant stretches.
Another point that can't be ignored is that the Dane is a former World No. 1. There's no shortage of talent with her and, at her best, there's no shortage of confidence either.
Furthermore, current World No. 1 Angelique Kerber hasn't been a closet World No. 1 as she's contested several events since reaching the top. However, Kerber hasn't claimed a title as the world's best yet and that suggests that she could lose a tidal wave of ranking points in Melbourne.
I also like that one of the Dane's career-long nemeses, Serena Williams, is set for a worse 2017 than 2016. My reasoning for that is simply that her recent decline to the World No. 2 position is age related and she won't be getting any younger. Williams is the market favorite at a LOL-able 8/5, odds that I would actually put at more like 10/1 for true odds. I don't think she'll lose the power in her game anytime soon, but a small cardio decline and increased injuries could cost her a lot.
Wozniacki, despite the fact that she has been around for ages, is still just 26 years old. I could actually put the Dane at something like 9 to 2 to finish next season as the top-ranked player. If she remains healthy and motivated then I see Petra Kvitova as her main antagonist, a player at 8/1 to finish the season top ranked.
As for thoughts on other players with short betting odds
- Simona Halep is 5/1 but the Romanian is a much lesser talent than either Kvitova or Wozniacki.
- Who knows what to expect from Garbine Muguruza; a player who has been off the radar since her French Open title months ago (7/1).
- Maria Sharapova (33/1) and Victoria Azarenka (40/1) are former No. 1s, but the former will serve a suspension all the way to Roland Garros. That's way too much time to miss to have a serious chance at the year-end top spot, even if she returns with a roar. Vika's still pregnant with an expecting date approaching. I'm not exactly a midwife or a doctor, but my thinking is you don't deliver a baby and then win all the titles necessary to become No. 1 without some significant recovery time and parenting time first. Who knows how becoming a mother changes her priorities? I'm not saying Azarenka's career is over, but I can't see her playing a proximity of her best tennis until at least the fall.
Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic is the market afterthought here. She had an injury-riddled 2016, but at least her odds account for a lot of risk involved with taking her. Bencic is 50/1 to finish the 2017 season ranked No. 1, but before disregarding her don't forget for a second that about her Premier-Mandatory win at WTA Toronto in 2015. A baby-faced assassin is never 50/1 in tennis as youth prevails so often in a sport that doesn't allow timeouts or substitutions.
In conclusion, the following three recommendations should keep you very interested in all of the big tournaments in 2017, starting with the Australian Open.
3 point win Caroline Wozniacki for 2017 season-ending World No. 1 at 66/1 (Paddy Power)
1.5 point win Petra Kvitova for 2017 season-ending World No. 1 at 8/1 (Paddy Power)
1 point win Belinda Bencic for 2017 season-ending World No. 1 at 50/1 (Paddy Power)