Rory Jiwani picked out a 10-1 winner in the first round so don't miss his latest advice!
A pleasing start to the Australian Open although I cannot help but feel there were some missed opportunities. I should have seen Victoria Azarenka's demolition of Alison van Uytvanck coming and Garbine Muguruza's first set bagel over Anna Kontaveit also passed us by. Their potential fourth round clash could be a classic but it's onwards and upwards for us and we're well ahead going into Round Two.
Mirza Basic beat Robin Haase in straight sets in the opening round and the Dutchman is a decent yardstick on this surface. Basic was broken just once in the match and he can give Tomas Berdych a test. There could be a couple of tiebreaks and, as with Rajeev ‘Rampras’ Ram against Kevin Anderson, we’ll take a chance with some extremely generous odds on offer.
We can adopt similar tactics for Ram’s second round clash with Stephane Robert. The Frenchman was dominant on serve against Bjorn Fratangelo and this could be a slugfest. The odds are not quite as generous this time but they are playable.
Dominic Thiem is a rising star but he still fails to convince on faster surfaces. A couple of times in his opener he broke Leonardo Mayer - no easy feat - before letting the Argentine back in the set. Up next is Nicolas Almagro who served no fewer than 38 aces in his first round win over Julien Benneteau. I think Thiem is vulnerable and anything bigger than 2-1 about the Spaniard looks good from here.
Mirza Basic to win first set 7-6 against Tomas Berdych - 1pt @ 28/1
Berdych to win first set 7-6 against Basic - 1.5pts @ 11/1
Rajeev Ram to win first set 7-6 against Stephane Robert - 2pts @ 13/2
Robert to win first set 7-6 against Ram - 2pts @ 11/2
Nicolas Almagro to beat Dominic Thiem - 2pts @ 11/5
Ana Ivanovic was too strong for Australian wildcard Tammi Patterson in round one but she has been in poor form of late and faces a far stiffer test against Anastasija Sevastova. The Latvian actually won their one previous meeting - admittedly more than five years ago - and performed well in the qualifiers in Melbourne. Jarmila Wolfe could not muster a challenge after injuring her back in the warm-up but the Serb is a player I am keen to take on and I see this as a potential upset.
I am not one for looking gifthorses in the mouth and Danka Kovinic looks like cannon fodder against a rampant Azarenka with a first set bagel most definitely on the cards. I will probably play the ‘6-0, 6-1’ with Serena Williams too, but I think my other selection here will be Johanna Konta against Saisai Zheng. The Briton was a cosy victor against Venus Williams and a repeat of that showing would see her through with ease. And in this case, a shade of odds-on about a straight sets win is far from prohibitive.
Anastasija Sevastova to beat Ana Ivanovic - 1pt @ 39/11
Victoria Azarenka to win first set 6-0 against Danka Kovinic - 2pts @ 13/2
Azarenka to win first set 6-1 against Kovinic - 2pts @ 7/2
Johanna Konta to win first set 6-0 against Saisai Zheng - 1pt @ 16/1
Konta to win first set 6-1 against Zheng - 1.5pts @ 15/2
Konta to beat Zheng in straight sets - 4pts @ 9/11