With the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open 2017, Melbourne starting today (16th January 2017) – it is already promising to underline the increasing depth in the women’s game.

Serena Williams continues to struggle with injury, add to that the poor start to the season by Angelique Kerber the current WTA world number 1. All this means the rising starlets and previous underachievers have the chance to shine.

Picking the Australian Open Women’s 2017 means avoiding many banana skins

There are numerous betting tips being lobbed back and forth, especially for the ballsy Brit’ Johanna Konta, after her Sydney success last week.

However, it is argued that it amounts to nothing more than pure guesswork to give a reliable tip in this particular tournament, given all the imponderables and we haven’t mentioned Venus Williams’ injury and Johanna Konta’s struggle with the heat at the US Open that could be worse in Melbourne.

An alternative, longer term approach, is to highlight an underachiever and still rising star to follow throughout the exciting 2017 women’s tennis season, occasionally betting on them, if that’s what you like doing, depending on the match/tournament. Below are two players , whoit is predicted will have theirbest season so far and, take advantage of the estimated dip in dominance by the top few players.

It promises to be an open season on the women’s tour this year.

Caroline Wozniacki

With two Grand Slam final (US Open) and four semi-final appearances (three at the US Open) – the amiable Dane, Caroline Wozniacki must appear early on in the coffee shop discussions about the best female yet to win a Grand Slam. The Wozniacki v Radwanska debate on that score is for another article.

That illusive first (deserved) Grand Slam title, when it finally arrives, will be welcomed far outside of her home country Denmark.

The stoic Dane’s ability to keep the ball in play and slowly increase the pressure on her opponent was near its best towards the end of last season. This culminated in a spirited US Open Semi-Final appearance, defeating the much touted Madison Keys en route to a gutsy defeat at the hands of eventual winner Angelique Kerber.

It was followed later on, by a victory in the Hong Kong, defeating Kristina Mladenovic in the final.

Granted, Caroline’s season has not started in the most spectacular fashion. This was typified in the never-got-going defeat to Barbara Strycova in Sydney. The Dane is not known for fast starts to a season and will continue to go from strength to strength and will be eyeing the prize of the final Grand Slam of the season – the US Open.

Elina Svitolina

Everyone knows and is frustrated by what Wozniacki is capable of, but is yet to achieve. At the other end of the spectrum, is the 22 year old Ukrainian right hander: Elina Svitolina is one of the only top twenty players who doesn’t have a losing record against the human powerhouse that is current world number 2: Serena Williams.

Svitolina has made a promising start to the 2017 season. This includes the scalp of Angelique Kerber in Brisbane, before bumping into a ruthless Karolina Pliskova in the semi-final. A viral infection forced Svitolina’s withdrawal from last week’s tournament in Sydney. This was a frustrating interruption of her Australian Open preparation, making it likely that the season will need to progress a little in order for the Ukrainian’s fitness to increase. When it does, Svitolina will continue to add to the big scalps she’s been collecting over the last few seasons and her potential, when fully realised could easily see her break her Grand Slam duck, before the likes of Johanna Konta, sorry British tennis fans. Expect the clay court season to bring out the best in Svitolina.