Ash Barty in action. Picture: Wikimedia.

There are some top contenders at this year's Australian Open and we've looked at the top 10 in the women's bracket.

The women’s singles title has been an open field over the past five years with twelve different Grand Slam champions.

Of the 128 strong pool, these are the 10 women who are set for a deep run in this year’s Australian Open. 

Ash Barty

After almost 12 months out of the game, you could forgive the world number one for looking shaky in her first few matches. But as she does, she found her way past each opponent in front of her, winning the Yarra Valley Classic title.  

Barty has received a favourable run in her home Open, with the likes of Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Serena Williams on the other side of the draw. 

A rejuvenated Danka Kovinić will face Barty in the first round with Czech 6th seed Karolina Pliskova a potential quarter final opponent.

Defending champion Sofia Kenin could await in the semi-final, which would be the same opponent Barty lost out to at the same stage of the tournament last year. 

Simona Halep

The Romanian 2nd seed has struggled with niggling injuries so far this season, but is confident she will be at her best for the Open.

Halep enjoyed a semi-final run this time last year, and has been in a rich vein of form, winning the Italian Open six months ago. 

With Aryna Sabalenka and Serena Williams in her quarter of the draw, the road will be difficult for Halep to claim her maiden Australian Open title. 

Naomi Osaka

The 2020 US Open Champion comes into 2021’s first Slam as the favourite for her second Australian Open title.

The 3rd seed’s combination of power and athleticism has her in good stead for the fast paced courts of Melbourne Park. 

Osaka pulled out of her semi-final matchup on Saturday to manage her court time before her first round clash with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The fan favourite will need to navigate her way to a potential blockbuster semi-final matchup with Serena Williams or Simona Halep if she’s to repeat her 2019 Australian Open title.

Sofia Kenin

It has been a brilliant twelve months for the 4th seed, including the Australian Open title and a run to the final of the French Open to be named the WTA Player of the Year. 

Kenin will be keeping an eye on Ash Barty ahead of a potential semi-final rematch, but Aussie Maddison Inglis will be determined to challenge the 22-year-old star in the first round.

The American has brushed off questions about a leg concern that has hampered her lead in to the tournament.

Only once in the previous decade has the Australian Open women’s singles title been successfully defended; Kenin will be aiming to join the elite company of Victoria Azarenka in doing so this year. 

Aryna Sabalenka 

A real dark horse in the women’s draw, no one had a better finish to the 2020 season than the Belarussian.

Since the French Open, the 7th seed has rattled off 15 consecutive victories, winning the Ostrava, Linz and Abu Dhabi Opens, and even winning the Ostrava Open doubles with Elise Mertens. 

The draw isn’t favourable for the 22-year-old with Viktória Kužmová first up.

However, there will be few women who can match Sabalenka’s power if she can carry her form into the first Slam of the year.   

Bianca Andreescu 

At the end of 2019, Andreescu had announced herself to the tennis world as the next big thing.

At just 19 years of age, the Canadian defeated Serena Williams to lift the US Open trophy in her tournament debut; the first woman to achieve that feat in the professional era. 

Since then, she has hardly stepped foot on court due to a long rehabilitation from a knee injury. 

Andreescu faces ‘lucky loser’ Mihaela Buzarnescu in the first round, with Petra Kvitová and Angelique Kerber the main rivals in her quarter. Andreescu hasn’t played a match since 2019, but you can’t rule out a championship run from the prodigious talent.

Petra Kvitová 

The veteran 9th seed has been unable to lift the Australian Open trophy in 11 attempts at Melbourne Park, but still possesses the ability to match it with any woman on the tour. 

The Czech faces Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen in the first round, with a fourth round matchup against Bianca Andreescu a real possibility. Kvitová’s experience may prove beneficial in these unusual times. 

Serena Williams

The seven-time Australian Open Singles Champion can tie Margaret Court’s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles with victory at Melbourne Park this year.

Laura Siegemund awaits the 10th seed in the first round, with her path to the final littered with superstars. If she navigates her way through Sabalenka and Halep in her own quarter, Osaka and Barty may await. 

Despite being 39 years of age, there aren’t many women on tour hoping to matchup with the legendary American. 

Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka enters the Australian Open aged 31 with a wealth of experience as a two time champion.

Reaching the US Open final in 2020 was a brilliant result for the Belarussian, who has battled injuries at this stage of her career.

Managing her court time before the first round, Azarenka pulled out of her quarter final matchup on Saturday. 

The 13th seed coming into the first Grand Slam of the year, Azarenka has received a favourable draw that pits her against American Jessica Pegula in the first round; defending champion Sofia Kenin will be the main contender to come out of her quarter. 

Garbiñe Muguruza

The Spanish 14th seed enjoyed a terrific run to the Yarra Valley Final, eventually falling to Ash Barty. The 2020 Australian Open finalist enjoys the fast paced Melbourne Park courts and will be desperate to go one better this year. 

In the form she has showcased, Muguruza will have little trouble dispatching of ‘lucky loser’ Maria Gasparyan in the first round, before drawing her attention to a possible clash with Naomi Osaka in the 4th round. 

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