3 To Follow
It was a breakthrough campaign at Grand Slam level in 2016 when at the final
Major of the year at Flushing Meadows, New York, Karolina Pliskova reached the final having never been beyond the 3rd round of a Slam previous, despite being one of the most successful improving players on tour over the previous 18 months with 7 WTA titles to her name.
The 24-year-old possesses one of the biggest serves in the Woman's game, probably only second to Serena Williams, she regularly fires down the most aces per season on tour and has a ground game that when firing is hard to contain.
Pliskova has a good looking draw coming into Melbourne at the Australian Open where the World number 5 is priced accordingly at 9/1 (best with Paddy Power) and is a massive 22/1 for Wimbledon where I would rate her as top 3 or 4 for chances so makes the each-way appeal for come late June at SW19.
Pliskova is also 16/1 for US Open glory again where conditions will suit come early September where she will be defending big points but at this stage of her development can take in her stride and would recommend a poke each-way at all these 3 majors prior to Melbourne as a good fortnight in Australia could see these prices half by time of the off at respective future Grand Slams highlighted later in the year.
The reigning French Open Champion will not be coming into Paris in May at the attractive 22/1 price Stan James put up or 16/1 generally available ante-post for the Spanish starlet.
In fact, she is 11/2 for repeat Roland Garros glory and looking at her main challenges still see this as good value.
The heavier clay in Paris suits Muguruza's game superbly giving her time to set her feet and play her destructive ground strokes.
She reached the Wimbledon final in 2015 but proved a year later she was ready to become a major champion as she outplayed her Wimbledon nemesis, Serena Williams.
A Serena at her best would be the only player on my clay ratings to better the defending champion but at 36 is showing signs she is on the decline and feel Wimbledon will be Serena's greatest chance of Slam success this year. Angelique Kerber who has several clay titles to her name and with World number 1 status & mental attributes, coupled with stellar defensive skills will be popular in the French Open betting but for me she is not suited to the Paris clay as she can't hit through opponents and will struggle against a big hitter such as The Murg!
Muguruza has struggled mentally since her Maiden Grand Slam title but early signs in 2017 are good when she reached the Brisbane semi-final before withdrawing with a minor injury and appears that she is back on track and feel come May and happier surroundings she can defend a French Open crown.
World number 8 and first, player from the United States to reach the end of season World tour finals since Lindsey Davenport in 2002 is the golden girl of USA Tennis and it has been a heavy weight of expectation for the 21-year-old who will turn 22 in early February.
It has been a frustrating start to her season with a minor injury ruling her out of the opening Grand Slam of the year this week but come the summer and early fall she could be at the business end of both Wimbledon and US Open proceedings.
Like Pliskova, Madison Keys has one of the biggest serves on tour and has been described as hitting the ball as fierce as the men.
She is high on my Wimbledon rating and at 14/1 makes the each-way appeal as does the US Open at a similar price when a further 6 months of experience and improvement should see Keys secure her position in the top 10 of the rankings and go close.
Keys does have a final to her name on clay but her footwork and defensive skills need further development on the red terrain so the quicker Slams such as Wimbledon and US Open will be perfect for a serious charge to at least a major final having reached the semi-final at best in Austraila in 2015.
Karolina Pliskova - Australian Open - Wimbledon & US Open Each- Way.
Garbine Muguruza To Win French Open @ 11/2 General.
Madison Keys - Wimbledon & US Open Each-Way.