Who’ll grab the glory at AO 2019?

Features

Will Australian Open 2019 provide another milestone in some of the most extraordinary careers in tennis history?

Or will a new star emerge to take their place among the elite?

Take a look at those most likely to grab Grand Slam glory over the next two weeks as Game Insight Group in partnership with Infosys study the data.

Title contenders

Novak Djokovic produced one of the most incredible comebacks in tennis history when he reclaimed the world No.1 position in 2018.

That run is set to continue according to GIG win predictions, with Djokovic given the top win chance for the title.

These win predictions are based on GIG player elo ratings, a system that tracks player strength from match to match, adjusting for opponent difficulty, surface and tour absences due to injury.
 

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Is Novak on track for AO title number seven this January?

The predictions also show that Roger Federer, who is defending back-to-back AO titles, is the second-most favoured male player to win with an 18 per cent chance, closely trailed by Rafael Nadal in the third spot at 15 per cent.

Kevin Anderson rounds out the top four with a 7 per cent chance, nearly one third the chance of Djokovic, although Anderson could have recent confidence on his side as he is coming off a title win in Pune.

On the women’s side, Karolina Pliskova is coming off a strong performance on hard courts at the end of 2018, reaching three finals after her quarterfinal loss at the US Open and ending with her close loss to Elina Svitolina at the WTA Finals. Her start to 2019, when she defended her title in Brisbane, suggests she could be a major threat at the Australian Open.

Pliskova is, in fact, the number one pick to take the title this year according to GIG predictions, which give her an overall chance of 13 per cent to earn her first Slam title.

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Pliskova has the form to break her Grand Slam duck in Melbourne

The fact that Pliskova is the most likely title winner with little more than a 1-in-8 chance tells us that it is going to be another close contest for the Aussie Open women’s title. We can see that with the close forecasts of the number two and three top contenders, Svitolina and Angelique Kerber, with 11 per cent and 7 per cent title chances respectively.

The fourth pick goes to defending champion, Caroline Wozniacki, who is given a little under a 1-in-20 chance of a back-to-back win. 

Toughest quarter

Will the luck of the draw make a difference for the men this year?

GIG examined the difficulty of each quarter by seeing how much the win chances of the top seed in each quarter would be helped or hindered by the quarter. How much would Nadal’s chances of reaching the semifinals change if he had drawn Djokovic’s quarter, for example?

GIG’s analysis shows two quarters stand out when it comes to the difficulty of the path they present for the top seed.

Djokovic’s quarter presents the greatest challenge, taking an average of 2 per cent away from the top seed’s forecast of a quarterfinal win.

Federer, on the other hand, got the luck of the draw as the third quarter does the most to increase the chances of a quarterfinal win, increasing those chances by over 2 per cent on average.

In the women’s draw, GIG’s analysis shows the fourth quarter is the only one to give a substantial help to its top seed and is expected to aid their chance of reaching the semifinal by 5 per cent. That makes Kerber the clear winner of the draw.

The top half, on the other hand, is equally challenging for its top seeds, Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka. Halep could have to face Kaia Kanepi, both Williams sisters and still need to beat top pick for the title, Pliskova, to survive her quarter.
 

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Halep's road to a return final berth is a tough one

Top up-and-comers

Stefanos Tsitsipas is the strongest contender among the Next Gen, with Australia’s Alex de Minaur having the next best chance among the young phenoms of the draw. Still, with little more than a 1-in-100 chance for Tsitsipas, a Next Gen winner this year is an outside chance.

Aryna Sabalenka is the standout under-21 player entering the women’s singles draw. Sabalenka not only eclipses the other contenders for a Slam title in this young group, with a 4 per cent chance at the title, she is also the number six pick overall.

Top first Slam contenders

After a heartbreaking run at Wimbledon last year, could Anderson bag his first Slam title in Australia? The South African has a 1-in-14 chance, which is far from a favourite but still puts him as the most likely male player to get his first Slam title.
 

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Svitolina is a strong candidate to become the latest new Slam winner

Five of the eight Slam winners since Australian Open 2017 have been first-time Slam winners, and with Pliskova and Svitolina taking the top two spots in the GIG forecasts for the title, GIG is giving that trend a strong chance to continue. In fact, GIG predicts a 2-in-3 chance that a woman will win a maiden slam here in Melbourne.

Top Aussie contenders

Ash Barty is not only the top contender among the Australian players in the women’s draw, her chance of 3 per cent for the women makes her a viable contender among the field. In fact, Barty is the tenth overall in GIG’s forecasts for the most likely title winner. 

Nick Kyrgios heads the Aussie men’s hopes on 0.8 per cent, with fast-rising compatriot De Minaur on his tail at 0.3 per cent.

With the Australian summer of tennis now underway, stay across Australian Open platforms for the latest updates and player profiles from the Game Insight Group.