Master Ace gives the Spin’s readers part 1 of his list of contenders for the Australian Open. We will provide the Ace will be back with his picks once the draw has been published. Ace will give his list of floaters as well as attempt a racquet breakdown to see if we can pull the eventual winner.
(1) Serena Williams (4-0): 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010 W: Brisbane. Despite winning Australian Open five times, this is the only Slam she has not won since coming back from life threatening issues.
(2) Victoria Azarenka (3-1): 2012 and 2013 W: She will be trying to be the first to win for the 3rd consecutive year since Martina Hingis accomplished the feat from 1997-1999.
(3) Na Li (5-0): 2011 and 2013 F: Shenzhen. Despite winning the French Open in 2011, her overall results are better in Melbourne where she made 2 finals and a semifinal in 2010 where she lost a tough battle to Serena Williams.
(4) Petra Kvitova (2-0): 2012 SF: Based on her performance at Hopman Cup and Sydney so far, she may finally be able to capture her second Slam as she has worked on her fitness during the off season.
(5) Maria Sharapova (2-1): 2008 W: In 2013, she ran through the field until the semifinals where she was stopped by Li. With her changing coaches during the offseason, it will be interesting to see what advice she was getting while rehabbing her shoulder which kept her out of the United States Open.
(6) Agnieszka Radwanska (0-1): 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013 QF: She won all four matches played at Hopman Cup before losing in Sydney to the dangerous Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Her shoulder will be a concern as she has tape strapped on it.
(7) Jelena Jankovic (3-2). 2008 SF: In 2013, she had a resurgent season where she did well. Question is can she repeat if not exceed it.
(8) Sloane Stephens (0-0): 2013 SF. She normally does well during the Australian Open swing. However, with higher expectations and hiring Paul Annacone, will she be aggressive in her play?
(9) Angelique Kerber (5-1): 2013 R16. With increased expectations in 2013, she took a step back until the fall season. With a new coach on her team, will she continue her good form?
(10) Ana Ivanovic (5-0): 2008 F. Auckland. She is about to play her 37th consecutive Slam and she is in good form as she won her first title outdoors since her title at the 2008 French Open.