The 93rd edition of the Australian Open Women’s championship starts on 20th of January. While Canada’s Bianca Andreescu who was one of the pre-tournament favorites has been forced to withdraw because of the injury concerns, the women’s draw still looks very interesting and fiercely competitive.
Serena Williams looks to tie Australian legend Margaret Court’s record of 24 slams and Ashleigh Barty is looking to become the 1st Australian Women for more than 40 years to lift the home slam. In this article we analyse the 5 female favorites to lift this year’s Daphne Akhurst trophy.
The current World Number 2 and second seed this year Karolina Pliskova is one of the players to watch out this year at Melbourne Park. Pliskova who is now a regular feature of the WTA top 10 rankings is yet to taste Grand Slam success in her career. Her best showing remains the final appearance in the US Open 2016.
Pliskova reached the semi-final in 2019 Australian Open, even managing to beat the great Serena Williams in the quarter-final stage. She was beaten by the eventual champion Naomi Osaka in a tightly contested semi-final match. The former World Number 1 looks in great form and had an ideal pre-tournament start by winning the WTA Brisbane Open 2020.
She would now be highly determined to taste Grand Slam success at the Australian Open 2020 and is one of the top contenders for this year’s 1st Grand Slam.
Another Czech star and current World Number 8, Kvitova finished as a finalist in Australian Open 2019. She lost a tightly contested 3 set match to Naomi Osaka. Kvitova who is a 2 time Grand Slam champion is one of the strong favorites to win the 2020 Australian Open trophy, which she missed narrowly last year.
After the Australian Open final last year, Kvitova did not have a very successful year, much to her continuous injury concerns which resulted in the loss of form. Kvitova is in the top half of the draw where she could meet Madison Keys, Ash Barty and Serena Williams on her way to the final.
The draw looks may look very tough but the Czech star is known for her resilience and spirit. She would be determined to make a great start to the season 2020 by doing well at the Australian Open and is one of our top favorites to win the title in 2020.
3. Naomi Osaka
Just a year ago, Naomi Osaka was on a roll coming into the Australian Open. She had won the US Open and was looking in great form. Osaka continued that form and won the 2019 Australian Open in a convincing fashion. Twelve months later that great form seems to have taken a damp, much to her fitness issues during 2019. After Australian Open victory last year, Osaka was unable to even make it to a quarter-final of any other 3 Grand Slams.
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The Japanese star has come to Melbourne Park determined to lift another Grand Slam trophy and also put her name firmly inside the top rankings. Osaka has an easy draw in the earlier rounds before she could potentially face the great Serena Williams in the quarter-final and then come across either Ash Barty or Petra Kvitová in case the Japanese star manages to reach the semis. This could be a tough draw but Osaka has shown too much class in last 2 seasons to be counted out.
It was difficult not to put Serena Williams as our top favorite for the 2020 Daphne Akhurst trophy win. However at the age of above 38 years fitness issues during the later stages might come in the way for this American legend to lift her 24th Grand Slam. That is a major reason she makes it to the Number 2 on our favorites list. Serena is however determined to touch Margaret Court’s record at the at this year’s Australian Open. She also knows that age might not be on her side and her chances of doing so are limited.
The last time Serena lifted a Grand Slam was at the Rod Laver arena in 2017. She has since then made it to 4 Grand Slam finals but not managed to win any of them. The former World Number 1 ended her 3 year trophy drought by winning the Auckland Open on 12th January.
Serena enters the Australian Open 2020 as the 8th seed. As per the draw she could probably face her good friend Caroline Wozniacki in the 4th round before a possible quarter-final clash with Naomi Osaka. Serena who has been placed in the loaded top half of the draw could then have another challenging clash with the tournament favorite Ash Barty. This is the expected semi-final that is being dubbed as a final before the actual final.
The current World Number 1 and the top seed in the Women’s draw Ash Barty is our top female favorite for Australian Open 2020. Barty had a breakthrough season in 2019. She became the 1st Australian Women in more than 40 years to lift a singles Grand Slam after winning the French Open in June 2019. Barty also achieved her highest career rankings of World Number 1 in 2019 and closed the season in the best possible manner by lifting the WTA season finale title in Shenzhen.
Barty has now had a great start to her 2020 Australian Open campaign by winning the Adelaide Open. Seeded 1st in Melbourne, she has a relatively easy passage till the quarter-final stage where she could most likely face Petra Kvitová. The World Number 1 could then face either Serena Williams or Naomi Osaka in the semi-final which in both cases could be an epic contest.
Barty would have the whole of Australia behind her in next 2 weeks as she aims to bring the Daphne Akhurst trophy home, 42 years after Chris O’Neil did so in 1978. She is our top favorite to lift this year’s Women’s Singles championship.