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Australian Open 2019: Form guide for the women's championship in Melbourne

Karolina Pliskova Australian Open Melbourne
Karolina Pliskova: Time for the 26-year-old from the Czech Republic to claim a maiden Grand Slam title

Andy Swales attempts to unravel the fluctuating current fortunes of the leading women ahead of next week's opening Grand Slam of the season ...

"At present, no player seems capable of winning two or three tournaments in a row so, with the Australian Open starting on Monday, all roads still seem to be pointing towards Serena Williams as a likely favourite"

It's another wide open affair for the women singles in Melbourne, with more questions than answers regarding many of the game's leading players.

The last eight slams have all been won by different players - not seen since before the Second World War - so trying to pick a winner for the opening major of 2019 is more treacherous than ever.

Simona Halep, who ended 2018 as world No 1, made her comeback from a back injury earlier this week in Sydney and was promptly dispatched by Ashleigh Barty in straight sets.

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki's best days may already be over, following her disclosure that she has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

At present, no player seems capable of winning two or three tournaments in a row so, with the Australian Open starting on Monday, all roads still seem to be pointing towards Serena Williams as a likely favourite.

serena wimbledon 1280o.jpg

After all, the 23-time slam winner has reached the final in her last three trips to Melbourne where she is seeking an eighth singles title.

However, the 37-year-old has not competed on Tour since Flushing Meadows in September, so her form and fitness is unknown.

She still yearns to equal Margaret Court's record of 24 slam successes, although time is probably beginning to run out for the game's best player since the start of the new Millennium.

Serena's Challengers

Ashleigh Barty: The 22-year-old from Queensland is hoping to become the first Australian to win the women's singles title in more than 40 years.

Simona Halep: Last year's runner-up who will need to find her rhythm pretty quickly to stand any chance Down Under. Has a tricky first round draw.

Daria Kasatkina: The 21-year-old Russian reached two slam quarter-finals last year and won a reasonably prestigious tournament in Moscow during autumn.

Angelique Kerber: Her experience and coolness under pressure will be her greatest assets over the next two weeks. Winner in 2016, a semi-finalist last year and, of course, is the reigning Wimbledon champion.

Madison Keys: The only player to reach the quarter-finals in four of the last five slams.

Petra Kvitova: Can never be ruled out but hasn't reached a slam semi-final since winning Wimbledon for the second time in 2014. Is a winner of 25 career titles on the WTA Tour. Beat Kerber in straight sets in Sydney this week.

Naomi Osaka: The most recent Grand Slam champion, having triumphed in New York last September. Outdoor hard courts are certainly her speciality.

Karolina Pliskova: The player who should be ready to claim a maiden Grand Slam trophy. Fully equipped to make the breakthrough, and was a winner in Brisbane only last week. Has been a quarter-finalist in Australia for the past three years, while reaching the last eight in six of the most recent nine majors. Was beaten in the US Open final of 2016.

Aryna Sabalenka: The 20-year-old from Belarus is one of the newest stars in women's tennis. Collected her third WTA Tour title in China last week.

Sloane Stephens: One of the most frustrating players of the current generation. She has reached the final in two of the last six slams - winning one - while also losing in the first round in three of these events. A semi-finalist six years ago but hasn't won a match in Melbourne since 2014.

Elina Svitolina: Winner of the end-of-season WTA Finals in Singapore during October, which is her biggest title to date.

Caroline Wozniacki: Returns to Melbourne Park as one of the least fancied defending champions of recent times.

CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO VIEW FORM AT LAST 10 GRAND SLAM EVENTS

Women_Grand_Slam_Form_Melbourne_2019.pdf

Last 10 Australian Open Performances

Position

  • 1–5
  • 6–15
  • 16–25
Player 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Simona Halep RU Rd-1 Rd-1 QF QF Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-3
Angelique Kerber SF Rd-4 Won Rd-1 Rd-4 Rd-4 Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-1
Caroline Wozniacki Won Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-3 Rd-4 QF SF Rd-4 Rd-3
Elina Svitolina QF Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-3 Rd-3 Rd-1
Naomi Osaka Rd-4 Rd-2 Rd-3
Sloane Stephens Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-4 SF Rd-2
Petra Kvitova Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-2 SF QF Rd-2 Rd-1
Karolina Pliskova QF QF Rd-3 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-1
Kiki Bertens Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-1
Daria Kasatkina Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-3
Anastasija Sevastova Rd-2 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-4 Rd-1
Elise Mertens SF
Aryna Sabalenka Rd-1
Julia Goerges Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-4 Rd-2 Rd-4 Rd-4 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-1
Ashleigh Barty Rd-3 Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1
Serena Williams Won RU Won Rd-4 QF Rd-4 Won Won
Madison Keys QF Rd-4 SF Rd-2 Rd-3 Rd-1
Garbine Muguruza Rd-2 QF Rd-3 Rd-4 Rd-4 Rd-2
Caroline Garcia Rd-4 Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-2
Anett Kontaveit Rd-4 Rd-1 Rd-1
Qiang Wang Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-1
Jelena Ostapenko Rd-3 Rd-3 Rd-1
Carla Suarez Navarro QF Rd-2 QF Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-3 QF
Mihaela Buzarnescu Rd-1
Dominika Cibulkova Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-1 QF RU Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-4
Camila Giorgi Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-1
Lesia Tsurenko Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-2
Su-Wei Hsieh Rd-4 Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-1
Maria Sharapova Rd-3 QF RU Rd-4 SF RU Rd-4 Rd-1
Aliaksandra Sasnovich Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-2
Katerina Siniakova Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-2
Petra Martic Rd-4 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-1
Barbora Strycova Rd-4 Rd-4 Rd-4 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-1
Donna Vekic Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-2
Daria Gavrilova Rd-2 Rd-4 Rd-4 Rd-1 Rd-2
Danielle Collins
Johanna Konta Rd-2 QF SF
Saisai Zheng Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-1
Venus Williams Rd-1 RU Rd-1 QF Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-3 QF Rd-2
Shuai Zhang Rd-2 Rd-2 QF Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1
Maria Sakkari Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-2
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Rd-2 QF Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-1
Kristina Mladenovic Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-1
Yulia Putintseva Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-2
Alize Cornet Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-3 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-4
Kirsten Flipkens Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-4 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-2
Magdalena Rybarikova Rd-4 Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1
Alison Van Uytvanck Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1
Viktoria Kuzmova Rd-1
Victoria Azarenka QF Rd-4 QF Won Won Rd-4 QF Rd-4
Sofia Kenin Rd-1
Monica Puig Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-2
Belinda Bencic Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-4 Rd-1 Rd-2
Aleksandra Krunic Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1
Dayana Yastremska
Ekaterina Makarova Rd-1 Rd-4 Rd-4 SF Rd-4 QF QF Rd-4 Rd-2 Rd-2
Timea Babos Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1
Ons Jabeur Rd-1 Rd-1
Kaia Kanepi Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-3
Alison Riske Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-1
Rebecca Peterson
Andrea Petkovic Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1 QF Rd-2 Rd-2
Vera Lapko
Irina-Camelia Begu Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-4 Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-1
Sam Stosur Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-4 Rd-3
Mona Barthel Rd-2 Rd-4 Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-3
Sorana Cirstea Rd-2 Rd-4 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-2 Rd-1
Eugenie Bouchard Rd-2 Rd-3 Rd-2 QF SF
Heather Watson Rd-1 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-1
Kristyna Pliskova Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-2
Coco Vandeweghe Rd-1 SF Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-1 Rd-1
Lucie Safarova Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-3 Rd-1 Rd-3
Svetlana Kuznetsova Rd-4 Rd-2 Rd-1 Rd-1 QF Rd-3 Rd-4 Rd-4 QF
Bianca Andreescu

Andy Swales,

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