Australian Open 2020: Power rankings, women's singles
The Australian Open 2020 starts is exactly a week's time and the competition is heating up. With the top WTA stars already delivering a few blockbuster matches in the first week of the new season itself, one can only expect the bar to be raised higher at Melbourne Park.
Top stars including last year's finalists Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova, world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty and former champions Serena Williams and Carolina Wozniacki have all confirmed their participation in the tournament. Add to that a list of players that seem to come alive on the Australian hardcourts every year, and you have a lot to look forward to. Based off of that, below are listed the top eight players who have traditionally done well at Melbourne Park.
(The list is based on performances on Australian hardcourts during the 1 January, 2018 to 12 January, 2020)
#8. Serena Williams
While Serena has not played a lot of the warm-up tournaments in Australia, she had a good showing at Melbourne Park last year, reaching the quarterfinals with practically no match practice. Add to that her title run in Auckland this year and you might see a few sparks that hint towards a revival of sorts for the seven-time former champion.
#7. Simona Halep
Simona Halep made it to the finals of the Australian Open in 2018. She eventually lost out to Caroline Wozniacki, but showed her fellow WTA players that she definitely had the game for the fast hardcourts Down Under. A fourth round loss to Serena last year halted her progress, but Halep can go deep into the tournament with a little help from a favourable draw this time around.
#6. Danielle Collins
American Danielle Collins will be hoping for a repeat of last year's run at the tournament. Having entered the tournament as a relative greenhorn, she stormed past the likes of Angelique Kerber and Julia Görges to reach the semifinals. She showed signs of similar form at the Brisbane International earlier this week and can be a surprise hit from amongst a slew of erratic, but talented players in the main draw.
#5. Ashleigh Barty
2020 might just be the year for top seed and home favourite Ashleigh Barty. Consistent results (including a quarterfinals at last year's Australian Open) on home soil hold her in good stead ahead of the big event. She also made the finals of the Sydney International last year, losing out to Petra Kvitova (also her downfall in Melbourne) and has only improved since. With a complete game like hers, Barty would fancy her chances of going all the way here.
Set to retire from professional tennis following the conclusion of the Australian Open 2020, former World no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki will be looking for a final push for glory. Her win in the 2018 edition and semifinals finish at the ASB Classic this year have given hopes to Wozniacki fans of a flourishing finish to a long and illustrious career.
Another player who catapulted herself to a respectable ranking here based off of consistent results on Australian hardcourts is the big serving Karolina Pliskova. Two consecutive titles in Brisbane and a semi-final finish at last year's Australian Open more than establish Pliskova as a big threat in the conditions.
#2. Petra Kvitová
It was a close race to the finish and Petra Kvitová came just short of the top spot. A whirlwind couple of seasons in Australia that saw her win the title in Sydney and a few other semifinals finishes have ensured that she enters the tournament as one of the favourites. Also, her finals showing at last year's Australian Open and the emotional loss might as well have boosted her will to try and go all the way this season.
#1. Naomi Osaka
Edging out the Czech for the top spot is the 2019 champion Naomi Osaka, who will be the player to beat yet again. Her title from last year had her climb the ranks rapidly in becoming one of the best in the world. Osaka had a promising start to 2020 with a semi-final finish in Brisbane and is looking set for another big result at Melbourne Park this year.
The young stars of the tour including Sofia Kenin and Aryna Sabalenka have also had significant results in Australia in recent years. Alongwith such seasoned campaigners as Julia Goerges, Elina Svitolina, Angelique Kerber and Madison Keys, they will add to the already competitive field in the women's draw at Melbourne this year.