Australian Open: Eight WTA stars due a maiden major
There probably is not an elite sporting event in the world that is less predictable that WTA tennis, as we may be about to find out again at the 2023 Australian Open.
The days of Serena Williams, Steffi Graf dominating the women’s game are long gone, and for the last few years have proven that anyone can win a major with enough momentum.
Perhaps Emma Raducanu proved that most spectacularly when she won the 2021 US Open as a qualifier – the first person to ever achieve such a feat in women’s, or men’s tennis.
What about the 2023 Australian Open, though? Are there any women primed to win a first major? Well, quite a few, as it happens.
Best Australian Open: QF (2020)
If there is one player in the WTA who feels ready to win a major then it is definitely Ons Jabeur. The Tunisian has worked her way up through the rankings to number two in the world, blazing a trail for Arabic women as she has gone. She has been the defeated finalist in each of the last two majors.
Best Australian Open: QF (2021, 2022)
Jessica Pegula is the daughter of US billionaire Terry Pegula, but you wouldn’t know it by her tennis. Pegula has fought and scrapped for everything she has achieved in tennis – including her current career-high ranking of number three. She’s never been further than the last eight of a major, but it feels like her time.
Best Australian Open: R4 (2018)
Everyone loves a great comeback story, and Caroline Garcia is without doubt the WTA comeback story of 2022. The Frenchwoman started the year ranked 74 and finished it at back at a career-high number four after winning the WTA Finals in Fort Worth. That great year has included a US Open semi-final, so expect her to be a contender in Melbourne.
Best Australian Open: R4 (2021, 2022)
If the WTA has been on ocean of ever-changing chaos in the last few years, Aryna Sabalenka has been an island oasis of consistency. She has not dropped out of the top 11 in the world for more than four years now, and she’s creeping ever closer to a maiden major. Ironically, the one part of her game that lacks consistency, her second serve, is the thing that is holding her back.
Best Australian Open: R4 (2020, 2022)
Maria Sakkari looked like she was really getting close to a major in 2021 when she reached two semi-finals, but she has struggled at the Slams this year. Nevertheless, her game is still very much there and she looks like she has been carved out of Athenian granite. If she gets on a roll, she’ll be a tough to stop.
Best Australian Open: SF (2015,2022)
If you are surprised to learn that Madison Keys is only 27-years-old, you are not alone. It shocked me a little too. Keys feels like she has been around for an awful long time, but that is probably due to the fact she is often a threat at majors. She hasn’t won one, but she has reached a final and three semis, including one in Melbourne earlier this year. General rule with Madison Keys is that if she is in it, she can win it.
Best Australian Open: R4 (2016)
Belinda Bencic is one of those players that you never really expect to win but you’re also never surprised if she does. The Swiss ace can beat anyone on her day, and that makes her a serious threat if she gets herself in a quarter of the draw that opens up. She won Olympic gold last year too, and seems to have had an injection of belief as a result.
Best Australian Open: R4 (2020)
Given the fact she is only 18, it feels always ridiculous to suggest Coco Gauff looks a little overdue for a major. Despite her age, though, the 2023 Australian Open will be her 14th appearance at a major. She has already lost a final and her prominence in the WTA is growing all the time.
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