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View From Down Under: Kyrgios firms as fourth favorite to take Australian Open title

Nick Kyrgios’ impressive win at the Brisbane International has seen the 17th-ranked Aussie firm as an outside favorite ahead of next week’s Australian Open.

While Roger Federer is the short-money favorite to defend his title, Kyrgios finds himself an attractive option for punters backing him to claim his first Grand Slam.

Kyrgios defeated world No. 47 Ryan Harrison in straight sets in Brisbane to earn his fourth ATP tour title and first on home soil, making him fourth favorite to take out the season-opening major at Melbourne Park.

Kyrgios’ chances improved after injuries thinned out the Australian Open field, with Andy Murray opting for surgery, and Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka ahead coming to Australia short on preparation.

The 144th-ranked Bernard Tomic, meanwhile, is working through the tournament qualifiers and is no certainty to take part after falling short in the rankings and spurning a wild card.

William Hill is paying $15 (+1400) for a Kyrgios win, behind Federer on just $2.75 (+175), Djokovic and Nadal on $6 (+500), and Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev at $10 (+900).

Australians Alex De Minaur on $151 (+15,000), Thanasi Kokkinakis on $251 (+25,000) and John Millman, Matthew Ebden and Jordan Thompson at $501 (+50,000) will need some major upsets to pay out.

On the women’s side, 21-year-old Ashleigh Barty is looking to capitalize on an impressive 2017 season that saw her claim a first singles title in Kuala Lumpur and rise to 17th in the WTA rankings.

With defending champion and new mother Serena Williams on the sidelines this year, Barty is looking to make the most of her home-court advantage.

Barty’s best Grand Slam results have come on the hard courts of the Australian and U.S. Opens, where she reached the third round, and she heads to Melbourne equal sixth favorite on $21 (+2000).

Garbine Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep share top billing on $9 (+800), with Maria Sharapova second favorite on $12 (+1100) and Australia’s Daria Gavrilova and Samantha Stosur long shots on $101 (+10,000) and $151 (+15,000) respectively.

After Australia comprehensively wrapped up a 4-0 Ashes series win over England in Sydney this week, the hosts are predictable favorites to win Sunday’s first ODI in Melbourne.

But while Australia dominated the tests, England will prove tougher opponents in the five-match ODI series.

Australia is on $1.57 (-175) to win at the MCG, with $2.35 (+135) for England.

In the Big Bash League, the Perth Scorchers can reclaim sole possession of the tournament lead with a win over the Sydney Thunder on Thursday.

The Scorchers, who share top spot with the Adelaide Strikers, beat the Melbourne Renegades this week and are the $1.73 (-137) favorites to move clear with another win, with $2.10 (+110) for the Thunder.

In the A-League, Sydney FC can continue its stellar season with a win at Adelaide United on Sunday.

Sydney leads the Newcastle Jets by eight points on the later and is paying just $1.72 (-139) for a win and $4.20 (+320) for a loss against Adelaide.

The Jets are on $1.70 (-143) to beat the Brisbane Roar at home on Friday, with $4.25 (+325) for a loss.