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Australian Open: De Minaur heads up home contingent

The first Grand Slam of the year gets underway on Sunday and a host of home hopes will be hoping to enjoy success at the Australian Open, including leading prospect Alex de Minaur.

Australia has endured a long wait to see a home player win the men's singles, with Mark Edmondson the last such champion all the way back in 1976, while women’s success came as recently as 2022 thanks to Ash Barty.

The prospects of glory in either of the singles draws look slim, with De Minaur priced at 34.00 in the outright market of the men’s draw as he opens his bid for Melbourne glory against former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic.

What2024 Australian Open
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia
WhenSunday 14th - Sunday 28th January 2024
How to watchNine Network, Stan Sport
OddsNovak Djokovic 2.05, Carlos Alcaraz 4.33, Jannik Sinner 7.00
Iga Swiatek 3.20, Aryna Sabalenka 5.00, Elena Rybakina 6.00,

De Minaur hoping to kick on

Tenth seed De Minaur will be eager to finally get beyond the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2020 US Open and his prospects look good against Canadian Raonic, whose career has been blighted by injury in recent times.

Raonic’s big serve helped him reach the Wimbledon final back in 2016, the same year in which he made the last four in Melbourne, while he has four other quarter-final appearances to his name at the Australian Open.

The most recent of those came as recently as 2020. Raonic cannot be discounted, even if De Minaur is a strong 1.12 to progress, having won their only previous meeting in Brisbane in 2018 in two straight sets.

De Minaur is in the top half of the draw, along with both Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner, the side of the draw which will definitely see two Australians make the second round.

Alexei Popyrin has been drawn to take on Marc Polmans in the first round, while Aleksandar Vukic has been paired with Jordan Thompson.

Thompson is 1.40 to make round two, where he will face the winner of what looks like being a blockbuster opening-round clash between seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini.

In the bottom half of the draw, Thanasi Kokkinakis will be hopeful of making it through to the second round in Melbourne, even if he is a slight 2.00 outsider to defeat Austria’s Sebastian Ofner.

Again, the reward would be a hugely challenging second-round showdown with the winner of the clash between a resurgent Grigor Dimitrov and Marton Fucsovics.

Tomljanovic handed Martic tester

Alja Tomljanovic is fit to return to action in Melbourne after missing the tournament 12 months ago and she will be hoping to finally make it past the second round of her home Grand Slam.

However, she has been handed a tough opener against experienced Croatian Petra Martic, who is 1.72 to progress through to the second round.

The two players have only met once in the last decade, with Tomljanovic winning in straight sets at the US Open in 2021.

Daria Saville is another home hope in action, as she opens up against Pole Magdalena Frech and the Aussie is a slight 2.00 outsider to secure a place in the second round.

Should Saville make it past Frech, she would face the winner of the blockbuster opening-round showdown between 16th seed Carloine Garcia and the returning Naomi Osaka, the 2019 and 2021 Australian Open champion.

Another Aussie player to note is Storm Hunter, who has yet to win a singles match at her home Grand Slam, having lost in the first round on five previous occasions.

Hunter has ben drawn to face veteran Sara Errani, with the Italian a major finalist at the French Open back in 2012.

Errani and Hunter have only met on one previous occasion, with the Aussie winning in qualifying for the 2021 Wimbledon main draw and she is a strong 1.40 fancy to finally make round two at Melbourne Park.

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