The Australian Open first-round sees tournament favorites such as Ash Barty, Naomi Osaka, and Garbine Muguruza in action! But who will go the distance?
As the Australian Open gets underway, there are plenty of exciting matches right off the bat with top-seeded players in the Day 1 draw to kick things off. Defending champion Naomi Osaka prepares to take on Camila Osorio while Ash Barty looks to do battle with Lesia Tsurenko in the evening matches. The excitement doesn’t stop there, as we also have young rising stars like Coco Gauff in the mix as she aims to outdo her performance last year and live up to the awesome debut she had in 2020 when she took down Venus Williams, Naomi Osaka, and even gave eventual champion Sofia Kenin a run for her money while she was at it!
Of course, let’s not forget the other teen sensations and 2021 US Open finalists Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez who will be in action for Day 2’s matches. This young pair of rivals may not have had the best run of matches since their Grand Slam success in New York, but they have shown to step up when it matters most, so let’s hope the atmosphere of a major can see them at their utter best again. Speaking of teen tennis titans, let’s not forget the rapidly rising Clara Tauson who was the junior world No.1 during her early career and is recognized as one of Toshiba’s Rising Stars alongside Emma Raducanu.
While there are many fantastic players who are in the center of the spotlight and media coverage, one player who could be considered a bit of a dark horse in this Australian Open is Simona Halep. After going through a series of injuries over the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the Romanian is back in action and looking to be in good form, but we can’t be too sure until she goes up against old rivals like Garbine Muguruza, Ash Barty, and Naomi Osaka. What we can be sure of, however, is that Halep’s head-to-head with these players is quite impressive, and she’s shown she could best any of them on a good day with several wins against each.
So, who’s got the best chance?
Statistically speaking, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to put Naomi Osaka as the one with the best chance at taking the title in 2022. After winning the title in 2019 and again in 2021, she is logically the most well-positioned to do some serious damage as the tournament favorite and will certainly be one of the toughest opponents to beat.
On the other hand, we can’t leave out world No.1 and crowd favorite Ash Barty who will be playing on home soil and is sure to have the backing of an electrical Australian audience as she reaches for her first title in her home country. After reaching the top spot in 2019, Ash Barty has ended each subsequent year as the WTA world No.1 for a total of three consecutive years. Now, she has also secured the Adelaide International, giving her sufficient preparation for the Grand Slam event at Melbourne Park and showing some incredible form by not only securing the singles title but also the doubles. On route to victory, Barty took down some incredible players including Coco Gauff, Sofia Kenin, and Iga Swiatek, all of whom are expected to shake things up at this year’s Aussie Open event.
My personal pick
While I do believe the 2022 Australian Open women’s singles are ultimately anyone’s title, I feel Simona Halep will be the one to take the title. While this could be viewed as a biased pick resulting from the mere excitement of having her return to the Tour in good health and great form, I do believe there are several facts to back up her chances as well. Sporting a winning 3-1 head-to-head record against world No.1 Ash Barty as well as an even more impressive 4-1 head-to-head against defending champion Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep definitely has the game to bring down the tournament’s favorites which, in turn, makes her a favorite too, as far as I am concerned, though she may not have the ranking or recent Grand Slam results to back herself.
Regardless of who wins, there is plenty to be excited about for this year’s Australian Open, and while there will be a 50 percent capacity cap on the crowd this year, it sure beats having no crowd at all as we’ve seen happen to so many tennis events in recent times. With many young guns making their debuts, seasoned veterans coming in for another crack at the title, and beloved players returning from long breaks, the 2022 Aussie Open is going to be one hell of a ride.