By Ros Satar
- The Australian Open field sees all four active Slam holders from 2019 coming in with high hopes
- Australia will want to get behind World No. 1 and home hope Ashleigh Barty, but with Serena Williams winning her first title since the Australian Open 2017, could she make history?
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – An Aussie World No. 1 and a multiple Slam champion looking in ominous form – the women’s draw shapes up to be one to watch.
 Ashleigh Barty
Australia will give a raucous welcome to the World No. 1 for sure as she starts her campaign to win a second Slam title. For the first time in a long while they have a real contender for more silverware and on paper, Barty’s draw really ought to see her match last year’s best run to the quarter-final, but with Petra Kvitova defending finalist points from last year – if that is our quarter-final – we should settle in for an entertaining bout.
Barty’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)
- R1: Lesia Tsurenko | H2H tied at 1-1
- R2: Rebecca Peterson | First Meeting
- R3: Bernarda Pera  | First Meeting
- R4: Petra Martic  | Barty leads H2H 2-0
- QF: Petra Kvitova  | Kvitova leads H2H 4-3
- SF: Naomi Osaka  | H2H tied at 2-2
- F: Karolina Pliskova  | Barty leads H2H 4-2
Another coaching change for Pliskova to start the year, but it paid off as she won in Brisbane but she has a tricky start with two tough opening rounds, and while she could definitely progress to the semi-final on paper, to match last year’s best performance, it could be a tough ask to make this her first Slam.
Pliskova’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)
- R1: Kristina Mladenovic | H2H tied at 2-2
- R2: Laura Siegemund | Siegemund leads H2H 1-0
- R3: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova  | Pliskova leads H2H 6-0
- R4: Marketa Vondrousova  | Pliskova leads H2H 1-0
- QF: Elina Svitolina  | Pliskova leads H2H 5-4
- SF: Simona Halep  | Halep leads H2H 7-4
- F: Ashleigh Barty  | Barty leads H2H 4-2
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 Naomi Osaka
The defending champion returns to try and make it back to back Slams Down Under, and we could be in for a blockbuster of a quarter-final if Serena Williams can keep her form going. She started well in Auckland and looks like she could pose a threat.
Osaka got some solid matches under her belt with a run to the Brisbane semi-final as well as having some fun in the Rally for Relief.
Osaka’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)
- R1: Marie Bouzkova | First Meeting
- R2: Zheng Saisai | H2H tied at 1-1
- R3: Barbora Strycova  | Osaka leads H2H 2-1
- R4: Sofia Kenin  | H2H Tied at 2-2
- QF: Serena Williams  | Osaka leads H2H 2-1
- SF: Ashleigh Barty  | H2H tied at 2-2
- F: Karolina Pliskova  | Pliskova leads H2H 3-2
 Simona Halep
Despite a decent run on paper, make no mistake – Halep has a tough couple of matches to open her campaign. Jennifer Brady has started the year very solidly, coming through qualifying in Brisbane and claiming the scalps of Maria Sharapova and Barty in the first week of the season!
Her potential round three match with Danielle Collins again sees her up against an in form opponent. Halep will hope that her experience can guide her through into the second week, where she stands as good a chance as anyone to challenge for the title.
Halep’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)
- R1: Jennifer Brady | Halep leads H2H 1-0
- R2: Misaki Doi | Halep leads H2H 1-0
- R3: Danielle Collins  | Halep leads H2H 1-0
- R4: Elise Mertens  | Halep leads H2H 2-1
- QF: Belinda Bencic  | H2H tied at 2-2
- SF: Simona Halep  | Halep leads H2H 4-1
- F: Karolina Pliskova  | Halep leads H2H 7-4
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The Australian Open takes place between 20 January to 2 February (GMT +11 hours)
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