2017 Australian Open Women’s Preview. Serena Williams has enjoyed the Australian Open winning 6 titles. She is hoping to add to that tally and move one away from Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slams. To do so she will have to overcome rising star Garbine Muguruza, crowd favourite Daria Gavrilova and world number one and defending champion Angelique Kerber. Can she do it?
Williams is the best player of her generation and a destined hall of famer. At 35 she still intimidates opponents with her strength and power. Her other great assert is her competitiveness. She despises losing. She only won one Grand Slam last year, but did make three finals. The younger Williams sisters has won 6 Australian Opens, but only one since 2011. The former world number 1 is still a force and as good as chance as any to win the tournament.
Kerber announced herself at last year’s Australian Open by upsetting Serena Williams in the final. She backed it up with a US Open trophy and a runners-up plate at Wimbledon. She is Williams’ greatest threat and unlike many female competitors she is not afraid of her. Kerber’s all round game should see her go deep into the tournament.
It was a steady climb for Halep on the WTA circuit. She won her first title in 2013, made her first Grand Slam final in 2014 and reached world number two. Her career hit a slight hurdle last year with a first round exit at the Australian Open. Now 25, Halep has the physical attributes and tennis smarts to atone for last year. Her strength is her hitting accuracy, however beating Williams or Kerber requires more.
The 23-year-old became a Grand Slam winner last year. She was victorious at the French Open, which is the Spaniard’s preferred surface. Unfortunately, she followed that up with second round exits at Wimbledon and the US Open. Muguruza attacks the court and goes for her shots, which makes her dangerous but also vulnerable. Consistency remains her concern.
Pliskova was a top ranked player for a couple of years, but only impacted Grand Slams at last year’s US Open. She beat Serena Williams in the semi-final before losing to Kerber in three sets in the final. Since then her form has been okay. Her height and power is her strength. Whether she is consistent enough to go all the way at the Australian Open remains to be seen.
Konta was born in Australia, but represents England after moving during her youth. She has developed her game and made the semi-final at last year’s Australian Open. The world number 10 has made the last two US Open quarter finals and cracked the top ten near the end of last year. She enjoys the hardcourt and is at the right age, 25. Konta has never played Serena Williams and lost both her encounters against Kerber in straight sets.
For years the nation’s hopes were lugged upon Stosur’s shoulders. The unassuming Queenslander did not respond as she would have liked and underperformed at the Australian Open. With the arrival of Gavrilova and the focus on Kyrgios and Tomic, hopefully Stosur can concentrate on her game and reduce the unforced errors that pop up during Australian Open time. Her physical preparation is always outstanding and she is a true professional. Hopefully she is still around in the second week.
‘Dasha’ represents everything the Australian sporting public cherishes in sportspeople; an underdog that never give ups. She displayed her character at last year’s Australian Open when she made the fourth round and she will be hoping to do the same again. The nuggetty Aussie has lifted her world ranking into the twenties, so it is a realistic aim.
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