Tennis Betting Advice - January 2023

Australian Open: Day 4 - a 40/1 'sleeper'...

Wednesday 18th January 2023

Good afternoon, and welcome to Day 4 of your Australian Open 2023 daily service. Play starts from Midnight, UK time…

Late nights…

A gruelling day and night of tennis on Day 3 – even just watching it…

Play started at 11am local time in Melbourne, and ended at 1.30am – with three matches going well past midnight. One of those was our man Hubert Hurkacz, coming from behind to beat Lorenzo Sonego in the full five sets, 3-2.

  • The time difference means yesterday’s matches ran from 12 midnight UK time, through to 2.30pm this afternoon. I most certainly have not had the recommended 7-8 hours sleep…

With heat-rule suspensions followed by rain delays, the Aussie Open organisers have had little choice but to try and cram the matches in over the past day or so. But that won’t stop the familiar debate rising about the late finishes – and it’s one I agree needs to happen. After all, no-one really wants to see two players slugging it out in the early hours of the morning in a near-empty stadium.

Excuses maybe, but the match delay might have had an impact on our 75/1 women’s outsider pick Beatriz Haddad Maia. When she finally got out on court to play her 1st round match, the Brazilian came out on the wrong side of a tiebreak at the end of an epic and – that word again – gruelling first set. In which Haddad Maia saved 10 set points, only to eventually succumb on number 11, after one hour & 20 minutes. That one set of tennis was longer than some entire matches. After that fruitless expansion of physical and mental energy, the writing was on the wall for our player.

Think big…

If you’re a long-time Ones to Watch follower then you’ll know we often have to roll with some heavy punches in the first few days of a Grand Slam. The winners will come – it’s just a matter of time…

And the shocks have now officially started. Yesterday’s women’s matches saw a clutch of players win at odds in the region of 4/1 and 5/1.

And in the men’s, it turns out we’d gone in a round early when opposing the reigning champion, Rafael Nadal… The ailing Spaniard went out in the 2nd round overnight, with victor Mackenzie McDonald an 8/1 shot. The straight-sets 3-0 upset was 28/1.

We’re on a big-odds quest of our own this fortnight, of course. And in that respect, we have a handful of prices already in the Outright book. With the important phrase being, as ever, at these odds – it only takes one

In the men’s event, our two 100/1 Each Way shots will play each other in the 3rd round – Hubert Hurkacz and Denis Shapovalov. Meaning we are guaranteed to have a massive-price Outright Winner pick competing for us in the Last 16. The career head-to-head is 3-1 to Hurkacz, but I’d say Shapovalov is playing the better tennis right now.

In the women’s, as outlined in yesterday’s article, I like the look of the 25/1+ Name the Finalists combo of Jessica Pegula & Aryna Sabalenka. Pegula won again last night, extending her streak to six straight-sets wins in a row in 2023. She’s through to the 3rd round. Sabalenka plays in the 2nd round tonight, looking to add to her own current run of five 2-0 victories on the spin. Aryna faces Shelby Rogers, with the head-to-head in favour of our player (2-0).

  • The Pegula-Sabalenka ‘Name the Finalists’ combo can still be backed at 25/1 with Bet365 as I write afternoon, with more bookies probably going back up with their markets this evening

Also in action in the 2nd round tonight, our 100/1+ teenager Linda Fruhvirtova. And 25/1 pick Veronika Kudermetova. The bookies have both our ladies priced as favourites to win through to round three.

Samsonova the ‘sleeper’ at 40/1…

We’ll continue to target under-the-radar, big-odds opportunities in the tournament markets in the days to come. And I’ve got one name to add to our women’s Outright Winner book from the bottom half of the draw today…

The word from the courts after the opening couple of days is that this year’s Australian Open conditions are playing a little sluggish. That fits hand-in-hand with what I was saying above about some of the long, gruelling matches.

When the courts are a little slower like this, it can pay to back a player with the power and ability to hit through opponents. And if they’ve got one of the deadliest serves on the tour, and happen to have an excellent win-rate on the slowest surface of them all, clay – then we should take the 40/1 and 33/1 prices for this player while we still can…

That player is Liudmila Samsonova. At the risk of raking up old graves, that’s a name you may remember from our US Open pursuits at the end of last summer. The big-serving Russian was going well for us as a 100/1 long-shot in New York, when 888 Sport inexplicably decided to void our bet, citing that the 100/1 was an ‘error.’ You can read about the story at the time in the email archive on our website, here. (Needless to say, I have not recommended a single bet with 888 Sport since that debacle.)

Anyway, back to Australia now, and the 24-year-old Samsonova merits going in our bet book alongside fellow Russian dark horse, Kudermetova.

Liudmila won three tournaments on the WTA circuit last season, making 2022 by far her best year yet. And there could be more to come from Samsonova, a player who doesn’t get many column inches, and has the look of a potentially dangerous ‘sleeper’ in this section of the women’s draw.

Unfashionable picks are fine by me. All of Samsonova’s 2022 title wins came on hard courts, aided by her hard, flat ground-strokes – and that loaded serve. Add in the fact that she’s actually won more matches on clay in her career than any other surface, and you have the potential combination of a big-odds contender that might just catch light in these current Melbourne playing conditions.

Samsonova’s top pre-tournament prices of 40/1 and 33/1 are still available today. She has a tough 2nd-round assignment against Donna Vekic tonight. But odds of 2/5 (1.4) say the bookies have the Russian down to win this match. And so do I.

Tiebreak contenders…

On the hunt for some value in Day 4 match markets, there are four men’s matches that I make as strong candidates for a Tiebreak in the Match

Now, the bookies are no mugs here, and the prices are generally short and odds-on for that bet today – with not many firms offering ‘Tiebreak in the Match’ (William Hill do).

However, we can snag some more appealing odds-against quotes by backing a fancied player to win by the 7-6 score (eg. via a tiebreak) in the 1st Set. If you bet in-play and the match is looking like a close, serve-dominated affair, then betting the 7-6 Correct Score in other sets would be an angle to take, too.

I’ve included a selection of the best 1st Set Score prices below. Most mainstream bookies offer this market: Bet365, William Hill, Skybet, Paddy Power, Betfair, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Coral, Boylesports, Unibet, etc.

See below for the matches in question, and the four players I’m backing for the 7-6 score in the 1st Set.


Ones to Watch picks:

Australian Open 2023

Women’s Outright Winner – Each Way (1/2 odds 1-2 places):

  • Liudmila Samsonova @ 40/1 Betfred, Betway, 35/1 BetVictor, 33/1 Bet365, Ladbrokes, Coral, Sporting Index Fixed Odds, William Hill, Boylesports

Men’s matches – 1st Set Correct Score:

  • Taylor Fritz v Alexei Popyrin – 1st Set Score: Fritz 7-6 @ 9/2 (5.5) William Hill
  • Ben Shelton v Nicolas Jarry – 1st Set Score: Jarry 7-6 @ 5/1 (6.0) William Hill
  • Pablo Carreno Busta v Benjamin Bonzi – 1st Set Score: Carreno Busta 7-6 @ 6/1 (7.0) Bet365
  • Maxime Cressy v Holger Rune – 1st Set Score: Rune 7-6 @ 15/4 (4.75) Bet365


I’ll be back by 5pm Thursday with your Day 5 email.

You can email me during the tournament at:

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch