Caroline Wozniacki enjoyed a strong finish to the 2016 WTA Tennis season. She didn't qualify for the year-end event in Singapore, however after making the US Open semifinals Wozniacki did win two late-season titles in Hong Kong and Tokyo. Those three events were all hard-court events so, following the off-season, Wozniacki has to be thinking that early 2017 could be very special for her with all the hard-court tournaments approaching.

Wozniacki starts in Auckland

Tennis fans won't have to wait long to get a good look at Wozniacki on the tennis courts. The Dane will be playing at the ASB Classic in Auckland, a low-tiered tournament that will run from January 2nd to January 7th in New Zealand.

The draw for the event has yet to be released, however the players list is known. Wozniacki's ranking of 19th projects to a three seed in the event behind both Serena and Venus Williams. The event goes six deep in contenders with Barbora Strycova also in the event along with Kiki Bertens, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Wozniacki at 40/1 on outrights

Wozniacki is out at 40 to 1 to win the Australian Open (BetVictor) and those are odds that have shortened over the last little while. The Dane was at 66/1 to win the tournament in September according to notes I took for an article with Puntersblogs (September 7th). She is the 9th favorite to win the tournament now, even with the withdrawal of Petra Kvitova due to the stab wounds that the Czech player suffered and even after the withdrawal of American player Madison Keys.

Wozniacki's season-ending ranking was 19th and her seed at the Australian Open currently projects to 16th with three higher-ranked players having already withdrawn from the event. The seedings are subject to change, but 16th looks far better than 17th. With the former, you don't have to face a higher-ranked player to the fourth round while with the latter you may face one as early as the third round.

However, Wozniacki's seed does present draw problems still. She could very easily have four difficult matches at the Aussie against top players. However, the field is thinned due to suspension, injury, and other factors. Serena Williams has only won the event once in the last five years and if she is not at her best, then I think Wozniacki may claim the title.

For certain, I think she is more of a top-five favorite as opposed to the 9th favorite, a ranking that doesn't really reflect how well she played in the late going of the 2016 WTA season.

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