Here's a few words on the Australian Open:
I feel like this is really all about Djokovic. I give him a 70-75% chance of winning the event, then about 20% to Wawrinka, who is not in Djokovic's half and the only player to beat him at a major last year. After that, there's a small chance for Federer, Murray, and "the field". But honestly it's hard not to predict a Djokovic/Wawrinka final especially after both won tournaments in the first week of the season.
As far as dark horses, look at the Aussies Tomic and Kyrgios. Tomic has a fairly easy road to see Murray in the round of 16 and I like Kyrgios' chances in a potential round 3 battle with Berdych.
There are 14 American men in the draw including 3 seeds (Isner, Sock, and Johnson), 3 qualifiers (Fritz, Harrison, and Smyczek), a lucky loser (Frantangelo), a wild card (Rubin), and protected ranking (Baker). That leaves Querrey, Young, Ram, Krajicek, and Kudla to round out the Yank contingent. I'm not expecting huge things but I do think a few can get through to the 3rd round (high expectations I know). I was interested to see the teenaged Fritz after his challenger run last year but he's drawn Sock in round 1.
I feel like this is a wide open tournament for the women with Serena's possible injury, not to mention the rest of top 10 pulling out of tournaments the last 2 weeks. Serena does have pretty decent draw so she might be able to play her way into form. But if she's a bit banged up you wonder if she can survive again. Radwanska and Azarenka come into the tournament in good form, having won titles, and are on opposite halves of the draw. I wouldn't be surprised to see one, or both of them, in the final. Kerber also had a nice warmup but got smoked by Azarenka but she should be able to at least make it to Vika or Muguruza. Given the injury issues I'm not expecting much from Muguruza, Sharapova, Kvitova, or even Halep, and Sharapova (last year's finalist) is in Serena's quarter.
For dark horses, I like the draw of Makarova, who made the semis last year, if she's fully healthy again. And Cibulkova is a dangerous unseeded player, near Kvitova and Mladenovic, finalist 2 years ago.
There are 17 (wow) American women in the draw including 4 seeds (Serena, Venus, Keys, and Stephens), a qualifier (Gibbs), a wild card (Crawford), and a protected ranking (Duval). That means there were 14 direct entries, the seeds and Riske, Davis, McHale, Tatishvili, Falconi, Brengle (4th round last year), Vandeweghe, King, Mattek-Sands, and Lepchenko. The seeds all have nice draws and a decent chance to reach the quarters but the unseeded players were handed mostly brutal draws with several playing seeds. A few will likely advance but I'm not expecting much from this tournament except from the seeds, all of which are former semifinalists.
Finally, here's the last eight from the '15 Aussie Open
Djokovic def. Murray
SF - Wawrinka, Berdych
QF - Nadal, Nishikori, Raonic, Kyrgios
Serena def. Sharapova
SF - Keys, Makarova
QF - Halep, Venus, Cibulkova, Bouchard