Australian bookmaker TAB Sportsbet is facing a huge payout from a local bettor who made what so far is the bet of the year.
The identity of the bettor has not been revealed, but his tale of two longshots proved to be a huge winner that will cost TAB Sportsbet $196,000. From what actually is a pretty big-sized bet of $435, the bettor put money down on China’s Li Na and Swiss ace Stanislas Wawrinka to win the singles titles in the just-concluded Australian Open. Considering that neither Li nor Wawrinka were earkmared as favorites to reach the finals, let alone with both titles, it was a beyond risky bet that reflected on the odds – 451/1 – of such a feat being pulled off when the bet was made last Jan. 16.
TAB spokesman Matt Jenkins confirmed to ESPN.com that the bet was actually made on that day.
The Chinese Li had a far easier route to the title than his men’s counterpart, waltzing her way to the finals without having to meet any of the tourney favorites, a lot of whom, including Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, bowing out in the early stages of the tournament.
With the big guns out, the road became much easier for the Chinese sensation, who has actually become a huge force in women’s tennis, especially in the hard courts of Melbourne. Before winning this year’s Australian Open title, Li made the semi-finals of the Australian Open in 2010 and the finals in 2011 and 2013. Third time proved to be the charm for Li, who now counts her recently-won Grand Slam to her 2011 French Open title.
Meanwhile, Stanislaw Wawrinka’s road to history was a much more difficult proposition than his female counterpart. Not only did Wawrinka get bracketed in a group that would ensure matches with the big dogs, but he actually ended up having to go through both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals and finals, respectively, becoming the first men’s tennis player in history to beat the number one and number 2 seed in the same tournament.
Curiously, he also became the first to beat Djokovic and Nadal in the same tournament, putting a resounding exclamation point on the validity of his first-ever Grand Slam title.
And as far as the Australian bettor who had the foresight to see both results coming, cashing on a $435 parlay bet to the tune of $196,000 deserves his own share of props, much to the chagrin of the mates over at TAB.