The women’s tournament got off to a fine start for this column with both of my best bets finding the mark.
Julia Goerges had a rare day where she couldn’t miss and fired almost 40 winners past Sara Errani, who can’t cope when a big hitter finds their range, Jie Zheng completed the misery for the Italians by inflicting a straight sets defeat upon Roberta Vinci.
Petra Kvitova was stunned by Luksika Kumkhum in the day’s big upset and looking to avoid such a fate tonight are the likes of Vika Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Aga Radwanska, Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki, among others.
Day two looks a tricky one for punters, with temperatures forecast to be reaching the 40C mark, which some players will find very tough.
Olivia Rogowska vs Mariana Duque-Marino (BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 04.05 GMT)
This match will be played later in the day at around 6pm local time (7am UK) and I fancy the underdog to cause an upset.
Rogowska has been handed more wild cards than you can shake a stick at and she’s done little with any of them. The 22-year-old faces a tough match today against a Colombian who’s very capable on hard courts.
Olivia’s record in majors is poor at the moment, with eight wins and 21 losses in all matches inclusive of qualifying and two wins to nine losses in the main draw. Her last slam appearance saw her beaten 6-0, 6-0 by Errani in New York and she recently admitted to lacking in self-belief.
That will have been well received by today’s opponent, who performed well at Wimbledon and Paris last year in the majors.
The pair are meeting for the first time on tour and the 2.05 on Duque-Marino looks decent value against an opponent struggling and under pressure in front of a home crowd.
Carina Witthoeft vs Mandy Minella (starts around 01.05 GMT)
This match, which is scheduled for the blazing midday heat looks like a decent opportunity for the talented German Witthoeft to make the second round of a major for the first time.
The 18-year-old prospect has come through the qualifiers here and plays her first ever Australian Open, while Minella has played three and is yet to win a main draw match here.
The 28-year-old from Luxembourg is not a fan of the heat from what I’ve seen and her start to the season has not been what she would have wanted, with straight sets losses to Heather Watson and Lesya Tsurenko in qualies in Brisbane and Sydney.
The layers can barely separate this pair, but I give the edge to Witthoeft and the 1.85 looks good here.
The big names look to have eminently winnable matches, with Azarenka facing Johanna Larsson and Sharapova facing the occasionally dangerous Bethanie Mattek-Sands, while Wozniacki should have few issues with the powder puff Lourdes Dominguez Lino and the Dane is probably not a bad bet at 1.50 to win by 6.5 games or more there.
Radwanska faces the aggression of the diminutive Kazakh Yulia Putintseva in a match she should win pretty comfortably, while Jankovic should also see off Misaki Doi easily enough.
The weather is likely to be more of a problem than the opponent for many of the top stars on Tuesday and it does put me off backing the handicaps when they’ll probably be glad just to get off court in one piece.
Back Duque-Marino to beat Rogowska at 2.05
Back Witthoeft to beat Minella at 1.85
Read more from Unibet columnist Sean Calvert.