17/04/2024

Ash Barty will be must-watch at the 2022 Australian Open. Photo: WTA Tour

Eight Aussie women will enter the first round of the 2021 Australian Open, headlined by world number one Ash Barty.

Eight Aussie women will enter the first round of the 2022 Australian Open, headlined by world number one Ash Barty who comes in as the favourite to claim her maiden home Grand Slam.

Barty is coming off a 2021 season that included four WTA titles and Wimbledon – a lifelong dream of hers.

Second-ranked Aussie woman Ajla Tomljanovic will be desperate to recapture the form that saw her progress to the quarter-finals of Wimbledon alongside Barty last year, while legend Sam Stosur will bid farewell to the singles tour after the 2022 Australian Open.

These are the eight Aussie women who will enter the 2022 Australian Open singles draw, set to begin on Monday.

Astra Sharma

It was a memorable 2021 season for Sharma, winning her first WTA tour title in Charleston which culminated in a career-high world ranking.

She enters the 2022 Australian Open ranked 101 in the world, and hasn’t found much success at Melbourne Park in her three appearances.

She crashed out in the first round of both the Melbourne Summer Set and Sydney International in her two appearances in 2022. Her first round match-up with Clara Tauson won’t be easy, with the Danish world number 41 holding the 1-0 head-to-head advantage over Sharma dating back to their match-up at WTA Luxembourg in 2021.

Sharma will need to force Tauson behind the baseline with aggressive stroke play if she’s to pull off the upset and progress at Melbourne Park.

Best Australian Open result: Second Round (2019)

Daria Saville (WC)

Formerly Gavrilova, Daria Saville has returned to the WTA tour and enters the Australian Open as a wildcard where she’ll be a chance to cause an upset or two as the world number 385.

Her 2022 season started wonderfully, defeating Caty McNally and Katie Boulter to book a spot in the Adelaide International, though a first round match-up with Grand Slam winner Iga Swiatek wasn’t as successful.

Nevertheless, Saville’s form has been positive and the fan favourite will be riding a wave of momentum generated from an adoring Aussie crowd.

Daria Saville in Adelaide. Photo: Tennis Australia

Her first round match-up will be against Rebecca Peterson, with whom she was defeated on the ITF tour way back in 2014. She will be a slight underdog, but if she progresses a rematch with Swiatek will most-likely present in the second round of the 2022 Australian Open.

Best Australian Open result: Second Round (2018, 2021)

Ash Barty [1]

The world number one will have her best opportunity yet to make a run deep into the second week at Melbourne Park in 2022.

Always must-watch and always a brilliant ambassador for Australia on the international stage, Barty enjoyed her best year on the tour so far in 2021, winning Wimbledon and another four WTA titles to maintain her ranking as the best woman tour player in the world.

Barty has played the one tournament leading into the Open, and only dropped one set on her way to winning the Adelaide International. She faced quality opponents from the outset, defeating teenage phenom Coco Gauff, Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, Roland Garros winner Iga Swiatek and finally in-form Kazakh Elena Rybakina in the final.

It was a flawless showing from the Aussie, who took the week leading into the Australian Open off to rest her body and build into the tournament in the best way possible.

First up, she faces Lesya Tsurenko, who Barty holds a 2-1 record over. Their last encounter came in the 2020 Australian Open where the Aussie dropped the first set before rallying to defeat her counterpart 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.

Barty has a tough run if she can progress, with reigning champion Naomi Osaka a potential fourth-round clash. Maria Sakkari and Barbora Krejcikova are also in the same half of the draw, so Barty will need to outperform the best of the best if she is to make a deep run in her home Grand Slam and claim that elusive maiden Australian Open title.

Best Australian Open result: Semi-final (2020)

Ajla Tomljanovic

Tomljanovic’s incredible quarter-final run in Wimbledon last season still sits at the forefront of people’s minds, and the second-ranked Aussie woman will be out to replicate that form in her home Slam.

It gave her a career-high world ranking of 39, and she enters the Open as the world number 45.

Her start to 2022 has been tough with some high-quality opposition. After wins in Adelaide and Sydney, Tomljanovic lost out to Sofia Kenin and Paula Badosa respectively.

In the first round of the 2022 Australian Open, she will get her opportunity to exact some revenge on Badosa. The world number nine is in sparkling form having just won the Sydney International, and will be intent on making a deep run into the second week of the Slam.

Tomljanovic will need to make her life difficult by limiting her unforced errors and pushing her around the court where possible. This match could be predicated on the Aussie’s ability to hold serve, as her returning game is strong enough to worry Badosa.

Best Australian Open result: Second Round (2020, 2021)

Sam Stosur (WC)

A goliath of Australian tennis, Stosur has announced this will be the final singles appearance of her career, and Aussie fans will be out in full force to see off the 2011 US Open winner.

Stosur has been a fixture of the Australian Open fortnight, featuring in 19 Opens at Melbourne Park since 2002, just missing out on 2008. It won’t be the same tournament without Stosur, who has pushed Australian tennis into a new age and given the next generation a platform to shine.

In the first round the Aussie legend will face Robin Anderson. The American hasn’t played a match in 2022, and the two surprisingly haven’t played against each other before.

Stosur will love her chances of progressing out of the first round, and she will have a huge crowd to will her over the line in the first round.

After 1,034 singles matches on tour, the 2022 Australian Open will be a fitting farewell for Stosur.

Best Australian Open result: Round of 16 (2006, 2010)

Storm Sanders (WC)

The left-hander has steadily risen through the ranks throughout her career, and a wildcard spot is deserved reward for the hard work and success that Sanders has had in the past 12 months. She has fallen in qualification over the past few years, but now has an opportunity to feature in the main draw for the first time since 2016.

Sanders will have her work cut out for her against world number two Aryna Sabalenka in the first round. The power-hitting Belarusian had the biggest year of her career in 2021 and is always a brutal match-up in the heat of Melbourne Park.

She doesn’t give up many break chances and returns serve with interest which will force Sanders behind the baseline.

The Aussies best chance at taking it up to Sabalenka will be keeping the ball in play – her power hitting can become wayward when she’s pressured or tiring, which would give Sanders some free points.

Best Australian Open result: First Round (2014, 2015, 2016)

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Maddison Inglis (WC)

Inglis featured in the Australian Open main draw for the first time since 2016 last year, and will be out to record her first win in the tournament in 2022.

Her early form has looked promising this season, picking up early wins before falling to Shelby Rogers in Adelaide. She holds a 3-2 record so far, and has an opportunity to further improve on it with a match-up against US Open finalist and teenage star Leylah Fernandez.

Fernandez has struggled since the US Open final in August, but the scalps she took on her way to the unlikeliest of finals match-ups with Emma Raducanu can’t be understated. It include wins over Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka, all coming in deciding sets where she turned her performances up a notch.

Inglis will need to produce a special performance to advance past Fernandez, who holds the 2-0 record in their head-to-heads.

Best Australian Open result: First Round (2016, 2021)

Priscilla Hon (WC)

Hon didn’t play in her home Grand Slam last year, but made it to the second round in 2020 and will enjoy the fast courts of Melbourne Park.

Her 2022 season couldn’t have started much better. A huge three-set win over Petra Kvitova in Adelaide will give Hon incredible confidence coming into the Open. It was one of the biggest scalps of her career and one that was reward for her hard work since arriving on the professional tour in 2012.

She lost out to Victoria Azarenka in the next round, but a match-up with world number 34 Marketa Vondrousova should give her some confidence given the quality of opposition she has faced already.

Vondrousova has a 2-0 head-to-head record stemming from the 2017 ITF tour, but has struggled in the start of 2022. Hon would need to produce some of her best tennis to advance in the 2022 Australian Open.

Best Australian Open result: Second Round (2020)

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