04/03/2024
Ash Barty Aussie Women US Open 2021

Ash Barty is in the form of her life heading into the US Open. Photo: Tennis Australia

In the form of her life, Ash Barty heads up the five-strong US Open contingent of Aussie women out to impress at Flushing Meadows.

In the form of her life, Ash Barty heads up the five-strong US Open contingent of Aussie women out to impress at Flushing Meadows.

Barty – along with several high-profile athletes – didn’t make the trip to the United States last year for the final Grand Slam of the calendar year due to Covid-19 concerns.

Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka went on to claim the women’s singles crown over veteran Victoria Azarenka from a set down after a slow start.

This year, the US Open has followed suit with other major competitions around the world in requiring spectators to have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. A return of crowds to the Open will be welcomed after the silence that encompassed last year’s tournament.

Play is scheduled to commence tonight at 1am AEST, and carry through the fortnight until the 12th of September.

Astra Sharma

Making it into the main draw through US Open qualifying, Sharma will be looking to keep her momentum running after adapting to the conditions at Flushing Meadows well over the past week.

The third ranked Aussie woman at 114 in the world, she only dropped one set in her three qualifying matches in a good sign after losing some of her momentum in recent weeks. 2021 has been fantastic for Sharma, winning her first singles title – at WTA Charleston – and achieving her highest world ranking.

A huge task awaits Sharma first up. Barbora Krejčíková [8] has been soaring of late, having won the French Open earlier in the year. The former world number one again looked in top form at WTA Cincinnati, until she ran into the steamroller that is Ash Barty.

The two have never faced each other, and it will take a sparkling effort from the Aussie to take two sets off Krejčíková in the first round.

Sharma is the only Aussie woman playing on day one, with her match scheduled to take to the court at 4:15am AEST on Tuesday morning.

Astra Sharma fought her way through qualifying for a US Open berth. Photo: Tennis Australia

Ajla Tomljanović

With a new world ranking of 46 after a sensational Wimbledon campaign, Tomljanović will enter the US Open in sparkling form.

Her quarter-finals appearance at Wimbledon – where-in she was beaten by compatriot Barty – was the best Grand Slam result of her career. She followed it up with a first round win at Tokyo 2020 for Australia, but was unable to get past Elina Svitolina in a gruelling three set match that recorded temperatures in the high 30s.

Her first round opponent, Katie Volynets, comes in with a five-match losing streak. The 19-year-old has produced impressive results in 2021 which include not dropping a set in Wimbledon qualifiers, but has struggled at the next level after moving up from the Challenger circuit.

Tomljanović shouldn’t have too much difficulty in winning through to the second round when she takes to the court at 1:00am AEST on Wednesday morning. Her bracket includes Wimbledon finalist Karolina Plíšková [4].

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Ash Barty [1]

Barty has been the best player on the women’s circuit in 2021 by a long distance, showcased by her 3175-point lead as the world number one.

Fulfilling her Wimbledon dreams, winning a bronze medal at Tokyo 2020, and then becoming the first Australian in 48 years to win WTA Cincinnati last week without dropping a set in the tournament, her preparation couldn’t have been much better as she sets on her campaign to claim US Open glory for the first time.

Cincinnati was her fifth title of 2021.

The 25-year-old will first face veteran Vera Zvonareva at 4:00am AEST Wednesday morning.

Her run could find its first roadblock in the fourth round, where she could match up with Jennifer Brady. The American made it to the Australian Open final, and possesses the traits to take it up to Barty on her home soil.

Newly crowned world number two Aryna Sabalenka, and Japan’s Naomi Osaka [3] lie in waiting on the other side of the bracket to Barty, who is the tournament favourite entering the 2021 US Open.

Ash Barty and John Peers claimed bronze in the mixed doubles at Tokyo 2020. Photo: Tennis Australia

Sam Stosur

It may be the last time we see Sam Stosur at the Grand Slam she famously won a decade ago in 2011. She became the first Aussie woman in 31 years to win a Grand Slam title when she claimed the trophy at Flushing Meadows.

Now 37 years old, the legend of Australian tennis hasn’t triumphed in a singles match since the first round of the Australian Open this year.

Estonian Anett Kontaveit [28] is Stosur’s first round matchup at 5:00am AEST Wednesday morning. Her form had been suspect with first round losses at Montreal and Cincinnati.

However, a run at WTA Cleveland saw her claim the trophy, so she enters brimming with confidence on a five-match winning streak, and holds the 1-0 head-to-head record over the veteran Aussie.

Storm Sanders

The biggest riser in the Aussie women contingent this year, Sanders enters the US Open at a career-high world ranking of 132, and makes her debut at the Grand Slam through a wildcard entry.

She holds a 10-6 record on hard courts in 2021, and still rides the highs of her Adelaide International performance at the start of the year. Sanders came into that tournament as a qualifier and underdog for every match, managing to win herself through to the quarter-finals where she eventually fell to Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic [11].

Sanders is scheduled to take to court last of the Aussie women at the US Open, beginning her campaign at 6:15am AEST on Wednesday morning against Japan’s Misaki Doi.

The duo have met once – in 2013 – where Doi triumphed in straight sets, but Sanders has improved out of sight in recent years and will enter the first round favoured to progress.

Storm Sanders partnered Ash Barty in the women’s doubles at Tokyo 2020. Photo: Tennis Australia

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