For the last few years now, we have seen many a young talent excel through the ranks and get their hands on a Grand Slam title. In fact, it’s hard to remember a time that women’s tennis was ever this wide open.
Only World No. 2 Naomi Osaka has won more than one Grand Slam title since 2017, which shows the true extent to how wide open the major tournaments really are.
As the Australian Open rolls back around, there will be several of women’s tennis’ top ranked players hoping to get their hands on their first career Grand Slam title. So, with the tournament less than a month away, let’s take a look at some of the best players still on the hunt for that maiden Grand Slam trophy.
Elina Svitolina – World No. 5
Given her fantastic year in 2019, Elina Svitolina will have been disappointed to have not made much progress in her hunt for that maiden Grand Slam title last year. Two years ago, the Ukrainian recorded the best year of her professional career thus far. She reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and the semi-final stages of Wimbledon and the US Open. However, a covid-stricken 2020 calendar meant that the English Grand Slam was cancelled, ending Svitolina’s hopes of bettering her 2019 semi-final run, whilst she missed the US Open due to health concerns. That meant that she had just the Australian Open and French Open to aim for, but a disappointing third round exit in Melbourne and a quarter-final defeat in Paris left her still on the quest for a Grand Slam crown. She isn’t heavily fancied in the tennis odds to win the Australian Open, but could now be the time for the 26-year-old?
Karolína Plíšková – World No. 6
World No. 6 Karolína Plíšková will definitely be disappointed with her performances throughout 2020. The Czech’s best Grand Slam run was in last January’s Australian Open, and even then, she only made it to the third round of the tournament. Second-round knockouts in the French and US Opens would have been hard to take for the 28-year-old, but can she turn it around this year? Well, before last year’s early exit from the Melbourne Grand Slam, she had reached two quarter-finals and a semi-final, proving that she can play well Down Under. It will take something special to win the tournament, but given the wide-open nature of the women’s game, you can’t rule Plíšková out.
Aryna Sabalenka – World No. 10
Despite her top 10 status, at just 22 years of age Aryna Sabalenka is still somewhat of a novice on the WTA Tour, and her performances in the Grand Slams are evidence of that. This will be just her fourth Australian Open, and we’re sure she’ll be hoping to better her previous best of a run to the third round in 2019. Last year, she was defeated in the first round of the Australian Open by Spaniard Carla Suárez Navarro, whilst she failed to do much better in the other Grand Slams – exiting the French Open in the third round and the US Open in the second. Sabalenka is yet to get past the fourth round of one tennis’ big four tournaments, so to see the Belarusian lifting the Australian Open title next month is a bit of a stretch for the imagination.