WTA Australian Open 2020 Preview

 

Williams Out to Make History

Australian Margaret Court holds the record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles and Serena Williams is one short of equaling that record. Drawing level with Court by winning the Australian Open coud be rather fitting don't you think? The women's singles is a wide open affair though with several potential winners.  Between t he 20th of January and 2nd of February, we could see a fair few shock results as always seems to be the case in women's singles.

In the last 12 Grand Slam tournaments, there have been ten different winners with only Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep winning two titles. Serena Williams hasn't won one since winning this title in 2017 and a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. The former world number one has had a baby girl and been in four Grand Slam finals (including Wimbledon and the US Open in 2019) but still that record equaling title eludes her.

In fact, Williams hadn't won a singles title at all since her return to the WTA circuit until earlier this month. Williams won in Auckland but that didn't see her beating any top ranked players. The American has won this title seven times, first being victorious in 2003 but only reached the fourth round last year. You can get odds of 5.0  at Bet365 on her winning this title. Those odds reflect just how open a tournament this is.

Home Success?

The number one seed for this tournament is Ashleigh Barty. The Australian won her first Grand Slam last year when winning the French Open. Her form has been up and down since then though losing in the fourth round at both Wimbledon and the US  Open.  Her form in the Australian Open isn't that great with her best result being a quarter final last year. Before that, she'd failed to make it past the third round in six previous attempts, including three first round losses.

Barty had never won a WTA singles tournament in her home country until winning the Brisbane International earlier this month.  The world number one was impressive  with wins over Marketa Vondrousova and Dayana Yastremska. Twice  on her way to the final, Barty had to come from a set down. The pressure will be on her in her home country  and has a tough draw with a likely semi-final against either Naomi Osaka or Serena Williams. Barty can be  backed at 8.5 with William Hill to become Australian Open champion. 

Defending Champion Struggling

Naomi Osaka won the 2018 US Open and then followed up that success by winning this tournament last year. However, she's failed to build on those victories  and began hiring and firing coaches like she was the owner of Watford. There were wins in China and the Pan Pacific Ocean tournaments in September and October but she starts th e new year with another new coach, thi s  time Win Fissette. Osaka says she doesn't feel like a top player but feels more relaxed coming into this event than the 2019 US Open when losing in the fourth round.

The defending champion is 9.0 at Bet365 and lost in the semi-final of the Brisbane International held earlier this month. Osaka takes on unseeded Czech Marie Bouzkov in the first round.  Her big test could well come in the quarter finals when Serena Williams is her likely opponent with Ashleigh Barty her possible semi-final opponent. It's not the easiest of draws for sure and if she gets through this one, then surely she will start feeling like a top player.

Pliskova in Form

Second  seeded Karolina Pliskova has good reason to enjoy playing in Australia. The  Czech won the Brisbane International event and that was the second year in a row she'd won that tournament. Pliskova had wins over Madison Keys and Naomi Osaka and is hoping to finally win a Grand Slam.

The past three years have seen her do well in the Australian Open. 2017 and 2018 saw her reach the quarter finals and last year, she made it to the last four. Pliskova lost to Naomi Osaka in the last four after beating Serena Williams in the quarter final. Her only appearance in a Grand Slam final came in the 2016 US Open when losing to Angelique Kerber in three sets. Pliskova is in what appears to be the easier of the two halves of the draw. Potential opponents include Marketa Vondrousova, Elina Svitolina and Simone Halep. You can get 11.0  at William Hill on her becoming the Australian Open champion.

Halep Chasing First Australian Open Title 

Last year saw Simone Halep win the Wimbledon title, only her second victory in a Grand Slam.  Halep is seeded fourth for this tournament and is in the bottom half of the draw.  Her best peformance in the Australian Open was in 2018 when losing in the final to Carolina Wozniacki (who retires after this tournament).  Last year, Halep was the top seed and beat Venus Williams in the third round. However, her sister got revenge for that result with Serena winning in three sets.  

Halep lost in the quarter final of the Brisbane International losing to Aryna Sabalenka. Her draw isn't that bad and could face Karolina Pliskova in the last four.  The longer Halep stays in a tournament, the stronger she seems to get.  Halep has a good chance here if hitting top form and is available at odds of 12.0 at Bet365.

Bencic Could be Switzerland's Best Hope

Roger Federer has long been the best chance Switzerland has of a Grand Slam singles title. That might just change this year though with Belinda Bencic in with a chance of winning the Australian Open. The 22-year-old is seeded sixth for this event and is in the bottom half of the draw.

This time last year, Bencic wasn't even ranked in the top 50 and lost in the third round to Petra Kvitova. Two more third round defeats followed in Paris and at Wimbledon. It was all getting a bit repetitive but then she hit form in New York. Bencic reached her first (and only) Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open.  On her way to the last four she beat the number one seed Naomi Osaka but lost to eventual winner Bianca Andreescu (who misses this tournament through injury) in the last four.  

Bencic will hope for a good singles run as her doubles form is terrible. The last eight Grand Slam doubles events she's played in have seen her win just one. Thankfully, her singles form is better with a win in the Kremlin  Cup and a semi-final at the WTA Tour Finals.  Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova are possible opponents and at odds of 34.0 at Bet365 could give you a good run.

Other Contenders

Fifth seeded Elina Svitolina is yet to make it to a Grand Slam final but is knocking on the door. Svitolina has reached the semi-final of the last two Grand Slams and  has been  a quarter-finalist in Australia for the past two years.  Last year was the first time since 2012 that Svitolina failed to win a title but she did reach the final of the WTA Tour Finals.   She has avoided the likes of Barty, Osaka and Williams in the draw, so could have a good fortnight. Definitely a good each-way shot at 26.0 with William Hill.

Petra Kvitova lost in the final here last year, the first time she'd made it past the third round since 2012.  If fully fit, Kvitova is always capable of causing an upset . Her draw isn't an easy one though being in the top half but if finding form (she reached the semi-finals of the Brisbane International), she could go well.

Madison Keys lost in the final of the Brisbane tournament and could have a good Australian Open but has a tough draw. Marketa Vondrousova  is seeded 15th and has never made it past the second round here. Johanna Konta also needs to improve her form and with a potential match against Serena Williams in the last sixteen isn't likely to continue her record of at least making the last eight in her last t hree Grand Slams

Conclusion

The Women's singles are regularly hard to predict and this looks no exception. Serena Williams may of won a tournament this month but her form against highly ranked players remains to be seen. Ashleig Barty is the home favourite and world number one but hasn't enjoyed a great deal of success in this tournament.  Naomi Osaka is the defending champion and might even go through the two weeks without changing her coach. Her form is difficult to predict but if she gets through the first week, then she may be hard to beat.

Karolina Pliskova has already won a tournament in Australia this month and is in the easier bottom half of the draw. She looks a good bet to win a Grand Slam event at some point this year and a bet on her to win this title looks a good one to make.

 

 

We use cookies, read more here. OK