Breaking down the Aussie Open draw
We’re back! I’m so excited to see how this year’s WTA season rolls on. Last year, Serena and Venus were the stories, and I for one am thrilled they are on different halves of the 2016 Australian Open. It certainly helps that Venus is the #8 seed!
Serena (1) gets Giorgi, who Venus needed three sets to get past here a year ago. Serena got a lot of young talent in her section including Ostapenko, Konjuh and Kasatkina, who just beat Venus in Auckland last week. I think Serena will meet either Errani (17) or Wozniacki (16) in the fourth round and even though neither Serena nor Maria have played a WTA match in 2016, I think they will meet in the quarters. Bencic (12) is in Maria’s section but I am not sure I trust her just yet in a big slam match.
Quarterfinal: Serena (1) vs Maria (5)
Aga Radwanska (4) is coming off a WTA Finals tourney and a Shenzhen win this year. I still have trouble predicting how she will do, and the same goes with the other top seed here, Petra Kvitova (6). Petra’s still battling mono and she’s been ill this year with a stomach thing. Sloane Stephens (24) is coming off a win in Auckland and Suarez Navarro (10) hasn’t been too fab in singles for awhile. Vinci (13) has had some good wins in 2016 and seems to be on a high yet from her US Open run. Bouchard, Cibulkova and Gavrilova are also floating here as is Puig who is having a great run in Sydney. Tough section to call!
Quarterfinal: Radwanska (4) vs. Cibulkova (unseeded)
Garbine’s section – that feels odd to say! But the Spaniard (3) has some tough players in her section including possible fourth round opponent, and two-time AO winner, Vika (14). Garbine also could face the tricky Lucic-Baroni, Caroline Garcia or Mona Barthel in the first few rounds. Meanwhile, Angelique Kerber (7) made a lot of noise last year but had an abysmal year at the slams. I like her draw and think she has a great shot to make it far. I can’t say the same about the other high seed in Kerber’s section, Timea Bacsinszky (11), who has had two bad losses to start the year. And what to think of Svitolina (18) who took Serena to three sets in 2015?
Predictions: Angelique Kerber (7) vs Victoria Azarenka (14)
Simona Halep (2) has been battling an achilles injury for ages but I think she’s been handed a pretty friendly draw up to the possible quarters. She could get Ivanovic or Keys in the fourth round and I think she’ll get through especially given Ana’s slip in form, and what to make of Keys who made the semis last year? The other top seed here is the legend herself, Venus Williams. Venus starts with Johanna Konta who made a big run up the rankings last year. She could face Sabine Lisicki (30) in the third round and Karolina Pliskova in the fourth round.
Quarterfinal: Simona Halep (2) vs Venus Williams (8)
Serena d Radwanska
Venus d Vika
Final: Serena d. Venus
Who will use the SABR and against which player:
Halep will do this versus Cornet in the second round and Alize will yell.
Seeded Players to lose 1st Round:
I could see Keys going out to Diyas with her lack of match play and injuries. II think Schmiedlova will have her hands full with Kasatkina. Lisicki could also be knocked out by Cetkovska, who beat Wozniacki at the US Open last fall.
In the past few years we’ve had Sloane Stephens, Genie Bouchard and Madison Keys make big runs to the semifinals. So which youngster is going to make a run this year? I think someone may surprise us from the Aga/Petra quarter. Daria Gavrilova, a new Australian, could make her way through that section and I think she may give the Aussies something to really cheer for on the women’s side.
First round match to watch:
Caroline Wozniacki vs Yulia Putintseva. I mean, it’s Poots.