While there is somewhat of a clear favorite on the men’s side, the women’s draw offers up numerous potential champions. Even when we may want to favor those with a higher potential of winning the title (S. Williams, A. Kerber, C. Wozniacki, S. Halep, or even K. Pliskova); history has shown that a younger crop of players are ready to stake their claim to the major titles.
There were four different women major champions in 2018 and three of them were first time major champions. Yet perhaps this season the veterans will be inspired to prove that they are still capable of winning the big ones.
The top half of the draw is led by the number one ranked player, Simona Halep. Keeping her company are the following seeds: #4 Naomi Osaka, #6 Elina Svitolina, #7 Karolina Pliskova, #10 Daria Kasatkina, #12 Elise Mertens, #13 Anastasija Sevastova, #16 Serena Williams, #17 Madison Keys, #18 Garbine Muguruza, #21 Qiang Wang, #23 Carla Suarez Navarro, #25 Mihaela Buzarnescu, #26 Dominika Cibulkova, #27 Camila Giorgi, and #28 Su-Wei Hsieh.
To say the top half of the draw is packed with power hitters would be an understatement. If S. Williams hopes to capture her twenty-fourth major title, she will have to get by some serious obstacles.
Not seeded but still dangerous players in the top half are: Venus Williams, Alize Cornet, and Samantha Stosur.
None of the seeded players have been consistently superior; however, this is a major so expect everyone to give their best effort. Perhaps the variable that may impact the success of each player is injury. Many of these players are going in with some niggling injury and that added to the heat may put them at a disadvantage.
The bottom half of the draw is led by the number two seed, Angelique Kerber. In her half of the draw is #3 Caroline Wozniacki, #5 Sloane Stephens, #8 Petra Kvitova, #9 Kiki Bertens, #11 Aryna Sabalenka, #14 Julia Goerges, #15 Ashleigh Barty, #19 Caroline Garcia, #20 Anett Kontaveit, #22 Jelena Ostapenko, #24 Lesia Tsurenko, #29 Donna Vekic, #30 Maria Sharapova, #31 Petra Martic, and #32 Barbora Strycova.
Some potentially dangerous unseeded players in the bottom half are: Maria Sakkari and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. While I could have added a few more names to the list, many of them are coming in low on confidence and while they are still talented players, if they do not fully believe, they will be tripped up early.
I think any of the thirty-two seeds are capable of winning the title; however, there are some other players in the draw who may believe that they too are capable of winning and string some amazing tennis together to pull off the upset.
So I think the 2019 Australian Open women’s champion may be another unexpected surprise.
SOURCE OF IMAGES: serveandrally originals (main image: Petra Kvitova and insert: Eugenie Bouchard)