Venus Williams should shine again in Miami
Pavlyuchenkova could also contend
It's 16 years since Venus Williams won the last of her three Miami Open crowns, but the American legend has a definite chance of rolling back the clock at Key Biscayne this year.
Venus won titles at Crandon Park in 1998, 1999 and 2001, defeating Anna Kournikova, her sister Serena and Jennifer Capriati.
She also made the final in 2010 when finding only Kim Clijsters too good, but the strides Venus made to reach the Australian Open final in blistering heat in January suggest she could be playing well enough to dominate in Miami once again.
It’s set to be windy in Florida, but Venus performed well enough in Indian Wells last week when losing in the quarter-finals to Elena Vesnina, who went on to lift the title as a 300-1 shot.
Vesnina played superbly but will do well to repeat the heroics of Victoria Azarenka last year and add the Miami crown to the one she won in the California desert.
Karolina Pliskova, who is on the path to becoming world number one in the near future, is often there or thereabouts but the Czech’s price looks a little short.
Of greater interest could be Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The Russian has made a drive for greater fitness this year and it may not be long before that pays off with a decent title going her way.
Like Venus, she made the last eight in Indian Wells, where she was undone by finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova.
But with Elina Svitolina possibly vulnerable against promising Katerina Siniakova, there could be a way through the draw for Pavlyuchenkova, who may be capable of thwarting Agnieszka Radwanska should the pair clash in the last eight.
Top seed Angelique Kerber merits respect but is not having the best time this year, while Garbine Muguruza is another who looks underpriced considering what she has achieved in recent months.
Dominika Cibulkova is capable of winning a title like this, but after such a glorious 2016 campaign the Slovak may find it tougher to keep on producing the goods than some anticipate.
Madison Keys made a bright return from a wrist injury in Indian Wells, but the eighth seed may still not be quite back to her peak just yet and can be overlooked.
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki has started the campaign on the front foot and can be considered, while Coco Vandeweghe could prove a danger to anyone in the draw after going close in the Australian Open.
V Williams to win Miami Open
2pts each-way 25-1 BoyleSports
A Pavlyuchenkova to win Miami Open
1pt each-way 80-1 Paddy Power
Venue Crandon Park, Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida
Prize money $7,699,423 each for men’s and women’s singles with $1,175,505 going to the winners
Category – men Masters (1,000 ranking points to winner) women Premier Mandatory (1,000 ranking points to winner)
Surface Outdoor Laykold hardcourts
Where to watch – men live coverage on Sky Sports women live on BT Sport
Weather forecast Mostly dry and sunny but also windy (up to 21mph). High temp 30C