Swiatek has already won 3 Grand Slam titles (Roland Garros 2020 and 2022 and the US Open 2022). At the Australian Open, she reached the semifinals last year, where she was ranked ninth in the world. The observant viewer will remember that the 21-year-old was not yet the bulldozer she was going to be in the following months.
There is no limit to Swiatek, who will undoubtedly do his best this year to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon and thus complete the quartet of majors. But we’re already way ahead of things…
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The top seed will have to deal with a number of excellent opponents in Melbourne. Swiatek’s recent form is also decent, with three wins in the inaugural Federation Cup against one defeat. It was Jessica Pegula who was ranked No. 3 in the world who made noticeably short work of Swiatek 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals of the Mixed Team Championships (USA won).
US Open | Swiatek made his first Grand Slam final on surfaces other than clay
So the same Pegula is one of the players you should keep a close eye on. The 28-year-old also did stellar in 2022 and, as mentioned, has had a very strong start in 2023. In addition, Pegula has reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open in the past two years and is more than ready to do so. After the last eight for the first time. Get a specialty. Swiatek and Pegula – the third seed – could meet in the semi-finals.
There are countless gamers who would love to put an end to this possibility. What about Coco Gauff, who kicked off the year by winning the tournament in Auckland (without dropping a single set)? Or Daniel Collins? I got to the final last year, where Ashleigh Barty was really strong. Not long after this final victory at home to a home crowd, Barty ended her career ranked No. 1 in the world. She recently announced her pregnancy.
Open | Thanks to this match point, Barty won the Australian Open
This, coupled with the absence of also holder Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber and the end of Serena Williams’ career, means that only two players participated this year and won the tournament earlier: Sofia Kenin and Victoria Azarenka. Oddly enough, they face each other in the first round.
Petra Kvitova (in perfect form in the first weeks of the year and seeded 15) and the ever-seeming Muguruza are two other former main-table finalists. In short, the chance of a new Australian Open champion is very high this year. Who can hit?
Until Swiatek’s takeover, certainty was hard to find in modern women’s tennis, so almost every tournament resulted in upsets. However, there are of course elite players who stand out among the title favorites. In addition to the hats already mentioned, Ons Jabeur should also be considered.
The Tunisian reached the finals of two Grand Slam tournaments and finished second in Melbourne. Last year, Jabeur had to miss the Australian Open due to an injury. This year she was just there, but she had a sore leg during the Adelaide Championships.
US Open | Crafty Swiatek wins her third Grand Slam against Jabeur
Sabalenka and Bencic
Also interesting is the part of the schedule where fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka and twelfth seed Belinda Bencic ended up. Both ladies are at their best at the start of the year with tournament wins and sometimes breathtaking games.
They are big names par excellence, and are ready for a campaign that extends beyond the semi-finals, their best result in a Grand Slam tournament to date. The Belarusian was already No. 2 in the world, while the Swiss is the reigning Olympic champion.
Furthermore, Caroline Garcia deserves to be put in the spotlight. The 28-year-old Frenchwoman is the fourth seed and had a stunning 2022, in which she won four tournaments, including the year-end top-eight tournament.
Garcia and Scary
Like Sabalenka, Garcia reached the last four in her last major match (the US Open). Maria Scarari is another global top earner who now knows the tricks of the trade. The 27-year-old Greek is sixth and will be keen to return to the final stages of a major tournament after a disappointing Grand Slam season. She has already reached the semifinals at Roland Garros and the US Open.
Highlights Garcia – Jabeur – US Open
Thus, the list of players to watch with special interest in the next two weeks is full of richness. Not to be underestimated Veronika Kudermitova (9th seed) from Russia, young Chinese Chenwen Zheng (29th seed), Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina (22nd seed) and Barbora Kryczekova (20th seed) should not be underestimated.
The Dutch contribution to women’s singles is rather modest, but no less remarkable. Ariane Hartono was able to qualify for the main draw for the second year in a row, as she was the only orange in the fire. The 26-year-old is among the top 150 players and managed to secure a ticket to the main tournament. In the first round, Hartono will face American Shelby Rogers, who is almost 50th in the world rankings and has already reached the majors quarterfinals twice with her solid groundstrokes. If Hartono can make the jump, she could meet Sabalenka in the second round.
Open | Hartono was moved to tears and qualified for his second Grand Slam with a sweet victory
Great opening parties
Although previews like this one mainly look at the bigger picture, it’s fun to look back at the early rounds and put circles here and there in search of gems in the table. How about the following posters in the first round:
Victoria Azarenka – Sofia Kenin
Jelena Ostapenko vs. Dayana Yastremska
Marie Bouzkova vs Bianca Andreescu
Amanda Anisimova vs. Marta Kostyuk
Elise Mertens vs. Garbine Muguruza
Leila Fernandez vs Alize Cornet
Where are you looking?
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