Australian Open Contenders; Two former champions, a home favourite and three hopeful challengers!

It does get said a lot at the moment but it is true that women’s game is wide open. Predicting a winner of the Australian Open will be tricky work but let’s have a look at some chances.

Ash Barty

What a story this will be! The place will be full as Melbourne awaits the world number one.

Ash made the quarter finals last year with a fantastic performance against Maria Sharapova. The Australian hasn’t been in impeccable form this year but has shown good signs so far this year.

Ash has it on her racket to go and win this, the variety of skill she possesses makes her a favourite.

The only question mark will be over the pressure, how well with Ash deal with the added pressure of being the world number one at a home slam?

Ash Barty’s Potential Path

R1 – Tsurenko
R2 – Hercog / Peterson
R3 – Rybakina
R4 – Martic/Riske
QF – Kvitova/Keys
SF – Osaka/Serena
F – Pliskova/Halep

Karolina Pliskova

Beginning the year with a good run in Brisbane seems to be a theme for Pliskova but can she go one step closer in a major?

Semi-finalist last year, there is if anything some pressure on the Czech number one to win a major.

It’s been almost four years since she made her first and only Grand Slam final at Flushing Meadows losing to Angie Kerber.

She has the game to do this but sometimes the choices in matches can be questionable. I go back to her run in Shenzhen at the WTA Finals where she just waited for something to happen against Svitolina and lost.

Pliskova is the only former or current number one active on the tour right now without a Grand Slam title, will that change?

Karolina Pliskova’s Potential Path

R1 – Mladenovic
R2 – Siegemund/Vandeweghe
R3 – Pavlyuchenkova
R4 – Voundrousova/Kerber
QF – Svitolina/Bertens
SF – Halep/Bencic
F – Barty/Osaka/Kvitova/Serena

Simona Halep

Former finalist but we know needs a run of results.

Simona hasn’t had them yet this season but as we know can grow into tournaments as they go on as we saw at Wimbledon.

Halep has even said herself that she will need to work through early rounds and find things to improve and that’s where I stand on her chances.

I’m a big fan of Halep, I’ve watched her for 6/7 years but she is a player who plays on momentum and after a couple of rounds that will give us a signal on if she is a contender in Melbourne.

Simona Halep’s Potential Path

R1 – Brady
R2 – Doi/Qualifier
R3 – Collins
R4 – Mertens/Muchova
QF – Bencic/Sabalenka
SF – Pliskova/Svitolina
F – Barty/Osaka/Kvitova/Serena

Naomi Osaka

Favourite?

I’d say so. Defending champion who has been in good form since the end of last season. She lost in Brisbane in the quarter finals but I wouldn’t put too much on that.

She has the personality and character to brush past opponents. What I have been impressed with since last years US Open is the way she has battled through difficult matches.

She has spoken about figuring it out on court herself and there have been a lot of changes to her team but does seem very focused right now.

Naomi Osaka’s Potential Draw

R1 – Bouzkova
R2 – Zheng/Qualifier
R3 – Strycova (or Venus/Gauff)
R4 – Kenin/Stephens
QF – Serena/Konta
SF – Barty/Kvitova
F – Pliskova/ Halep

Petra Kvitova

Last years runner-up.

Petra’s season did fizzle out in all honesty following Melbourne.

I like Petra but I wouldn’t bet on her winning in Melbourne by any stretch of the imagination and that is with the greatest of respect.

Performances can vary in consistency and that is a big problem. Big results can be followed by confusing defeats which is why I don’t see Petra contending here.

Petra Kvitova’s Potential Path

R1 – Siniakova
R2 – Badosa
R3 – Alexandrova
R4 – Keys
QF – Barty
SF – Osaka/Serena
F – Pliskova

Serena Williams

You have to have Serena as a contender.

No one was more consistent in terms of wins at majors last year but you could argue she was the least prepared with hardly any tournaments played which shows how great she is.

I think more tennis the better for her and to be in that winning frame of mind coming off a title win in Auckland can only do her the world of good and must be seen as a serious contender now.

Serena Williams’ Potential Path

R1 – Potapova
R2 – Zidansek /Han
R3 – Wang
R4 – Konta/Yastremska
QF – Osaka
SF – Barty/Kvitova
F – Pliskova/ Halep

Anyone else?

You may have noticed I have missed a couple out. Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina are two top players I have left out of this one. I’d be pleasantly surprised if they got past the quarters in Melbourne but I can’t see it happening right now.

Screenshot 2020-01-16 at 12.31.38

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