04/03/2024

Ash Barty in action at Wimbledon, 2019. Photo: Tennis Australia

World number one Ash Barty leads a group of four Aussie women looking to break a 41-year Australian women's singles title drought at the All England Club when they commence play at Wimbledon this week.

World number one Ash Barty will be looking to break a 41-year Australian women’s singles title drought at the All England Club in 2021 when she commences play at Wimbledon this week.

The Aussie will start as a slight tournament favourite in an open field of women. Barty leads an Aussie contingent of four entering the first round of the ladies’ singles.

Ajla Tomljanovic

Tomljanovic has only made it past the first round twice in her five main draws starts at Wimbledon. The Queenslander typically prefers hard courts, and doesn’t train much on grass over her season but enters with the biggest scalp of her career on grass two weeks ago. She defeated top-20 seed Elise Mertens and displayed impressive power to dominate points from the baseline.

Ajla faces a tournament debutant in the form of Greet Minnen in the first round. She will be favoured to progress, but a tough opponent may be awaiting in the form of fifth seed Bianca Andreescu in the second round.

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Samantha Stosur

Stosur enters Wimbledon for a staggering 17th time in her career in 2021. The 37-year-old has made it the third round three times before, but the US Open champion has never made it to the second week of the tournament. She is a two-time mixed doubles champion at the All England Club.

Her first up opponent in the singles is American Shelby Rogers. The hard-hitter is ranked 47th in the world, and will prove to be a great opportunity for Stosur to make one last charge through the rounds at Wimbledon in 2021.

Ash Barty

Entering as the number one seed in the world, Barty will be a slight favourite in the 128-strong pool that promises a wide-open race. Before 2020’s Wimbledon hiatus, there were four different champions in the past four years, indicating the open nature of the ladies’ bracket and the capacity for anyone to conquer the grass courts if they put it all together over two weeks.

Ash is still under an injury cloud. She retired at Roland Garros after carrying a hip injury into the tournament, and has previously had her thigh heavily strapped as well. However, she has been moving freely in her trainings and – despite not playing a lead-in event on grass – has earmarked Wimbledon as the tournament she wants to win ever since her triumph in the grass court Grand Slam girls’ final at age 15.

Her form in 2019 was brilliant as she went undefeated into the Grand Slam but crashed out in the fourth round.

Spanish veteran Carla Suarez Navarro – who recently announced she would be retiring come season’s end – is her first up opponent. Barty could be facing Jelena Ostapenko in the later rounds who just won WTA Eastbourne, while Serena Williams could be a blockbuster semi-final.

Ash Barty at Wimbledon in 2019. Photo: Tennis Australia

Ellen Perez

Perez has become a much-improved singles player in 2021, and will make her Wimbledon debut as a 25-year-old. She has fought her way through qualifying to the main draw, defeating three higher ranked opponents including Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin.

Perez has a great opportunity first up. She faces fellow qualifier Clara Burel for a spot in the second round. If she can find a win there, she may run into Swiss ninth seed Belinda Bencic.

Wimbledon will begin on Monday and run throughout the next fortnight, with the ladies’ singles final scheduled for July 10th.

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