Aryna Sabalenka has not won a single match at the Australian Open.

She is the third-favourite in betting markets to win the 2019 championship.

There is, quite clearly, a disconnect there; yet it’s a sign of just how quickly the Belarusian has risen that she is a realistic candidate to claim the season-opening grand slam.

“I’m telling you here, right now, that the winner of the Australian Open women’s side is going to be Sabalenka, O.K.?” ESPN analyst Patrick McEnroe said this past week. “She’s going to win the Australian Open.”

If Australian fans know Sabalenka at all, they’re either passionate women’s tennis fans or watched Ash Barty’s opening round match at last year’s Australian Open.

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