With the first grand slam of the year set to start next Monday, it will be a very open battle for the women players fighting for the 2019 Australian Open title in Melbourne

1. Serena Williams

Serena Williams of the US at the women’s singles match on day six of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth, on Jan 3, 2019. (PHOTO: AFP)

In this year’s Australian Open, Serena Williams is set to return to Melbourne after having to withdraw from last year’s edition in order to give birth to her daughter Olympia.

The American is back chasing a title which would see her equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 grand slam singles titles.

Williams will enter this year’s first grand slam as 16th seed but nevertheless, she still remains one of the top favourites to win it together with Naomi Osaka to whom she lost in last year’s US Open final.

2. Simona Halep

Simona Halep was dumped out of the second round at the Sydney International by home favourite Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-4. (EPA)

Having lost to Caroline Wozniacki in last year’s final, Simona Halep will want to do better this year and retain the number one spot in the WTA rankings having managed to hold on to it for the last two years.

On Wednesday, the Romanian lost to Ash Barty in the second round of the Sydney International. Now, Halep will need to up her game and prepare for some serious competition at the Australian Open next week.

Halep is currently without a coach after parting ways with Australian Darren Cahill who at the time was dealing with family issues.

3. Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki plays a forehand during her first-round victory against Laura Siegemund at the ASB Classic in Auckland. (Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Last year, Wozniacki won her first ever grand slam title in Melbourne removing an unwanted tag of being a world number one who never won a grand slam.

In this year’s edition, the Dane will be seeded third and will appear in her first major since announcing to the world of her diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis.

She has since claimed that this is something she has learned to live with it and which will not keep her from doing what she loves most.

4. Angelique Kerber

World No.2 Angelique Kerber showed her experience in a high-pressure final. (Getty Images)

The German Angelique Kerber will turn 31 next week and a second Australian Open title would surely be a dream birthday present for the current world number two.

Last year, Kerber managed to clinch her first ever Wimbledon title making her the first German to do so since Steffi Graf in 1996.

This year the German already reached the final in the Hopman Cup and will want to maintain her form going into the Australian Open. Kerber has already won the title in Melbourne back in 2016.

5. Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka of Japan plays a shot during her quarterfinal match against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia at the Brisbane International. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)

Another of the highly favourites to win it in the land down under is the talented Japanese Naomi Osaka, who had stunned Serena Williams in last year’s US Open final.

This year, Osaka has not had the best of starts having suffered a straight-set loss in the semi-final of the Brisbane International as well as having had to withdraw from the Sydney International of this week.

Nevertheless, the 21-year-old still remains one of the favourites to advance to the final stages of the tournament and have a chance at clinching the prestigious prize.

 

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