Just when we thought record breaker Serena Williams was due to defend the Grand Slam she won eight weeks pregnant last year, in what was shaping to be one of the greatest post-pregnancy comebacks since Kim Clijsters won the US Open in 2009, unseeded. Our hopes have unfortunately been dashed as the four-time champion recently withdrew from the Melbourne Park field.
Although Serena will surely be contending for titles within no time, we must now focus on this year’s competitors. The draw consists of a staggering eight Grand Slam title winners (bonus points for identifying the all GS winner Round 1 match).
Below is the list of the five pre-AO tournament winners in 2018 so far. As the real first test of the season approaches, it is difficult to judge based on these warm up events who will prevail, though the silverware certainly won’t hurt any of the following’s chances:
Sydney International – Angelique Kerber
Hobart International – Elise Mertens
ASB Classic – Julia Goerges
Shenzhen Open – Simona Halep
Brisbane International – Elina Svitolina
A great start to 2018 for WTA heavyweights Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber. Current number one Simona Halep had another successful year in 2017, reaching her second Grand Slam final at Roland Garros. That same match has been her biggest problem to date. Converting when it matters. With her relatively new world number one tag, will the Romanian channel the pressure that the important matches produce and claim her first, overdue Grand Slam in Melbourne this year.
Have you got anybody you’ll be tracking through the Melbourne this year? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook! At last the tennis season is in full swing!