ESPN's Darren Rovell reports an "Australian bettor" plunked down $435 on a parlay, taking Li and Wawrinka to win the entire tournament.
The audacious bet won big:
An official with TAB, Australia's largest bookmaker, told ESPN.com that it will pay out $196,000 U.S. dollars for a $435 parlay bet one of its clients made for both Stanislas Wawrinka and Li Na to win the title.
TAB spokesman Matt Jenkins said that the bet was placed on Jan. 16 when the odds of both winning the Australian Open were 451/1.
Rovell also reports that TAB officials don't, as yet, know the identity of the winner, just that the parlay was placed at one of their locations with cash.
You could probably just look for someone eager to tell anyone who will hear that they indeed "Called it!" Or you could seek out the individual giddily reciting "Parlay!"
As for the unlikely nature of the outcome, Rovell has that covered as well. Li came in as a fourth seed and saw the likes of Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska all fall before ever having to face them.
In the end, Li had to wade through the likes of Ekaterina Makarova (22), Flavia Pennetta (28), Eugenie Bouchard (30) and Dominika Cibulkova (20) to win her first Australian Open title.
Granted, it was hardly a walk in the park, but it wasn't nearly the gauntlet traipsed by the men's eventual winner, Wawrinka (8), who took down the likes of Novak Djokovic (2), Tomas Berdych (7) and a formidable, albeit exhausted and injured, Rafael Nadal (1).
Wawrinka would later tip his hat to Nadal in a postgame interview, via ESPN: "Rafa, I am really sorry for you. I hope your back is going to be fine. You are a brilliant champion and it is always a pleasure to play against you. Well done for your comeback to become world No. 1, you are always so professional and lovely to everyone so it is great to have you back."
Little did Wawrinka know but he was one part of a marquee bill that garnered one gambler a hefty sum. Now we are confident that the next major will have more than a few parlays featuring rather outrageous predictions.
It makes sense, because seedings are meaningless to champions who take on all comers and ended up on top. For these two, they believed they could usurp an exhausting lineup of stars at an egregiously hot tournament, and so did one more person out in Australia.
Whether from knowledgeable confidence or just dumb luck, that person's brash bet produced a very unlikely reward.
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