Source: Tennis Australia www.tennis.com.au

Before the Australian Open kicks off, The Inner Sanctum is previewing the Australian women competing in this year's tournament.

At this year’s Australian Open, 10 Australian women will be competing for the Grand Slam title. The entires into this year’s tournament range from the experience of Sam Stosur and Ash Barty, to the youth of Kim Birrell and Destanee Aiava.

The Inner Sanctum took a look at the 2021 Australian women and how far they’re going to go in this year’s tournament.

Ashleigh Barty

Source: US Open www.usopen.org

Current world number one and former French Open Champion, Barty is hunting her first Grand Slam title on home soil. Making the most of the draw, Barty’s toughest match up might not be until the semi-final with Osaka, Halep and Williams on the opposite side of the draw. Meanwhile, the fourth and fifth seeds, Sofia Kenin and Elina Svitolina sitting in sections three and four respectively.

Daria Gavrilova

Source: WTA Tour www.wtatennis.com

Gavrilova had two strong Australian Open experiences in 2016 and 2017, getting through to the fourth round both years. Since then she’s been battling injuries on and off, missing the Australian Open last year as she recovered. Should she make it through her first-round matchup against Sara Sorribes Tormo, she’ll likely be facing fellow Australian Ash Barty in the second round.

Maddison Inglis

Source: Tennis Australia www.tennis.com.au

After a big 2020 which included two ITF title wins, Inglis has been offered a wildcard spot in the main draw this year. To get beyond the first round will be a hard fight for the 23-year-old; Inglis will face reigning Australian Open Champion Sofia Kenin on day one.

Arina Rodionova

Source: WTA Tour www.wtatennis.com

2021 will be Rodionova’s fourth Australian Open in women’s singles. Rodionova will be looking to surpass last year’s career-best of making it through to the second round. It won’t be easy for the wildcard entry as she’ll face American Madison Brengle and should she win Rodionova will be up against either the 22nd seed Jennifer Brady or Australian Open debutant Aliona Bolsova.

Destanee Aiava

Source: Tennis Australia www.tennis.com.au

Aiava has never made it out of the first round of the Australian Open. Having previously been granted three wildcard entries into the tournament. Typically in the first round, Aiava has had to come up against high ranked players, such as the number 1 seed Simona Halep at the 2018 Australian Open. The youngest Australian woman at the Australian Open will come up against experienced Australian wildcard, Sam Stosur.

Samantha Stosur

Source: Tennis Australia www.tennis.com.au

This year will be Stosur’s 13th consecutive Australian Open appearance. despite winning the 2011 US Open and the 2019 Australian Open doubles title, Stosur has never made it past the fourth round in singles on home soil. Her Australian Open campaign will need to start with a win over fellow Australian, Destanee Aiava.

Astra Sharma

Source: Tennis Australia www.tennis.com.au

For the past two years, Sharma hasn’t missed a Grand Slam, making it through to the second round at the 2019 Australian Open and 2020 French Open. Sharma’s best surface is the hard courts, with five of her seven ITF titles on the surface used at the Australian Open. To make it through to the second round Sharma will first have to beat world number 72, Nao Hibino.

Kimberly Birrell

It’s been two years since we’ve seen Birrell at a Grand Slam. At the 2019 Australian Open, Birrell’s run was cut short by a third-round defeat to the former champion Angelique Kerber. Birrell’s return to the Grand Slam circuit comes off a major injury which has set her back since her last Grand Slam. In the first round she’ll be facing Rebecca Marino who is at her first Australian Open since returning from a four year break from Tennis.

Ajla Tomljanović

Source: Tennis World USA www.tennisworldusa.org

Tomljanović had a busy 2020, competing at all three majors getting as far as the second round at the Australian Open. This was coupled with regularly competing at circuit tournaments, going up against several top 20 ranked players. The world number 67 has a first-round matchup against Misaki Doi. Should she win she’ll likely face the second seed Simona Halep in the second round.

Lizette Cabrera

Source: WTA Tour www.wtatennis.com

Despite going down in the first round of last year’s Australian and US Opens, Cabrera had a strong 2020. Last year she made two quarter-finals, at the Hobart International and Burnie International respectively, losing in Hobart to world number 19 Elena Rybakina. Unfortunately, Cabrerea has the toughest first-round matchup for an Australian this year, taking on the second seed Simona Halep.

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