2021 Australian Open Predictions – Women

AP/Dita Alangkara, file

2021 Australian Open Predictions – Women

The first Grand Slam of the year is finally here! After a few weeks of quarantine, a warmup tournament, and lots of fanfare, the best players will be taking the court for a chance to win the 2021 Australian Open. This will also be the first Grand Slam with fans since the start of Covid-19. Some of the most interesting storylines include the return of Bianca Andreescu and Serena’s quest for her 24th Grand Slam title. We’ll also get to see world number one Ashleigh Barty, who chose to skip the restart of the season due to Covid-19 concerns. Let’s take a look at the top five seeds and other top players that have the best shot at lifting the Australian Open trophy.

5. Elina Svitolina

There’s no doubt that Elina is a heck of a player. If this were any other tournament other than a Grand Slam, I would predict her to reach the final stages. However, the Australian Open is a Grand Slam, and Svitolina consistently underperforms at Grand Slam events. Given the fact that she hasn’t played all that much tennis, and the fact that she has not performed to her best in the last couple of years, I see Svitolina going home in the first week.

4. Sofia Kenin

Kenin is a player that can have a horrible outing one week, and then come back and make it to the final of a Grand Slam the following week. She proved that to be the case after losing 0-6, 0-6 to Azarenka at the Italian Open, and then followed that up with an appearance at the French Open final. Also, let’s not forget that Kenin is the defending Australian Open champion. Kenin beat world number one Ashleigh Barty a year ago on her way to the title. Two Grand Slam finals in one calendar year is no small feat. Kenin is a fighter and will claw her way through this draw. Expect to see her in the semifinals.

3. Naomi Osaka

The overwhelming favorite is Naomi Osaka. She is back at full strength, and there is nobody out there that can go toe to toe for three sets with Naomi. She will make it into the second week with ease. The only two players I can see giving her a bit of trouble are Andreescu and Swiatek. However, given how she’s playing, I doubt she’ll have much trouble in route to her second Australian Open.

2. Simona Halep

Simona was the hottest player during the WTA reopening, winning both the Prague Open and the Italian Open, before getting completely taken apart by Iga Swiatek in the fourth round of the French Open. She has been fairly successful in the Australian the last three years, reaching one final and a semifinal. With the right draw, Simona can go deep. However, it is unlikely she wins this tournament. There are players such as Osaka, who can handle her with ease on a hardcourt.

1. Ashleigh Barty

The big question mark will be the number one player in the world Ash Barty. She has not played since February of 2020, instead opting out of the WTA reopening due to Covid-19 concerns. She’s talented enough to get through into the second week. However, given her lack of match play, it will be difficult for her to get past any top players that have been active on the tour in the last few months. Look for Barty to lose either in the Round of 16 or Quarterfinals.

Other players to watch:

Iga Swiatek

After an amazing run at the French Open, where she pretty much walked over the field, all eyes will be on Iga. The way she played at the French Open was no fluke, and as a 17th seed at the Australian Open, I feel sorry for the higher seeds that will have to deal with her in the earlier rounds. I have no doubt Iga can and will make a run at the Australian. The question is how far can she go?

Serena Williams

Although still searching for the elusive 24th Grand Slam, Serena’s record at Grand Slams in the past three years has been pretty good. As recent as last year, she was contesting a Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open. Serena can get hot and go deep. However, don’t expect number 24 at the 2021 Australian Open.

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