Tennis

2023 Australian Open Favourites – The Women’s Event

The women’s Australian Open is guaranteed to be a thriller. Last year’s champion, Ash Barty, has called it a day for her tennis career. And while this is obviously disappointing for tennis fans in Australia, it certainly makes the 2023 Australian Open very interesting. After all, with the previous winner not competing, the draw is wide open for young guys and seasoned veterans to step up to the plate.

All of the tennis begins on January 16th with the opening rounds of the women’s and men’s tournaments. And we shall progress all the way through until January 28th, which is when the women’s tournament will reach its conclusion. As for who could be the one left standing when things are wrapped up on the 28th, that’s where the list of favourites comes into play.

Australian Open 2023 Womens Favourites

On that note, I am about to run through the five favourites for the women’s Australian Open 2023 right now, so make sure you take it all in.

Australian Open 2023 Women’s Event – Top Five Favourites 

I’ll simply state that this list of favourites has been developed due to the current outright odds. And you can see the other juicy details below.

Iga Swiatek – eliminated in round 4

With Swiatek being the world number one, she was the red hot favourite to win the 2023 Australian Open. Her odds fluctuated between 2.60 and 3.20 before and throughout week 1. Not only is she the world’s best player, but she is heads and shoulders above the rest of the pack. Last year she made the semi-finals, but she will be looking to go further than that, for sure. That’s why she was seen as the one to win it all. However, the unthinkable for Swiatek and her fans happened in round 4 when the 2022 Wimbledon champion and seeded 22nd Rybakina beat the Pole 6-4, 6-4 to end her Australian dream.

Swiatek had excellent 2022. She not only reached the Australian Open women’s semi-finals but also won 2 of the other 3 Grand Slams – Rolland Garros and the US Open. Now 3-time Grand Slam winner and world #1 Swiatek has every reason to feel confident. Last year Swiatek also went on a 37-game winning streak (the longest such run so far in the XXI century by a female player). Used to winning Swiatek enters the tournament with 11 WTA singles titles to her name, 8 of which were won last year. All that said apart from last season’s semi-final Swiatek’s Australian Open record is not that impressive. On her debut in 2019, she was eliminated in round 2. In the following 2 years, she reached only to round 4, before the semi-final appearance in 2022.

It seems her wait for a much more serious success Down Under will have to continue for at least another year.

Swiatek Australian Open 2023 Results

  • Swiatek vs Niemeier – Won – 6-4, 7-5 (2023 Australia Open 1st Round)

  • Swiatek vs Osorio – Won – 6-2, 6-3 (2023 Australian Open 2nd Round)
  • Swiatek vs Bucsa – Won – 6-0, 6-1 (2023 Australian Open 3rd Round)
  • Swiatek vs Rybakina – Lost – 4-6, 4-6 (2023 Australian Open 4th Round)

Swiatek had tough opening match, which she won despite some shaky moments. Then she breezed past rounds 2 and 3 against very modest opponents that couldn’t withstand the Pole’s powerful ground strokes.

It all seemed to be going smoothly but in Round 4 she met the Kazakh Rybakina, who herself is a Grand Slam winner. Swiatek struggled to win enough points on her second serve and also committed 5 crucial unforced errors in key moments. This resulted in her losing consecutive sets by a single break and crashing out of the tournament.

Aryna Sabalenka – 3/4 (1.75) Odds @Ladbrokes

Sabalenka is right up there with the very best on tour, as reflected in her appearance in the final of the WTA Finals in November 2022. She also made the semi-finals of the 2022 US Open, so she is playing some awesome hard-court tennis. The only catch with Sabalenka is that she hasn’t gone beyond the 4th round of the Australian Open in the past. She finally cleared this hurdle this year and after Swiatek’s elimination Sabaelnka is the new top favourite to win the title.

Sabalenka has made it to round 4 in Australia both in 2021 and 2022 though, both times suffered dramatic defeats. The 3 years prior she was part of the Australian Open women’s tournament she made a little impression (eliminated in round 1 twice and reaching round 3 in 2019). Sabalenka’s Grand Slam potential is growing fast though and she reached back-to-back US Open semi-finals in 2021 and 2022, also made it to the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 2021 before being denied the right to play in England last season. Sabalenka already has 10 WTA singles titles to her name. She seems to thrive in hot conditions too, a fact proven by tournament wins in Abu Dhabi, Doha and Madrid.

Upcoming match vs Rybakina – Sabalenka Australian Open 2023

Sabalenkais bound to be nervous as this will be her first Grand Slam singles final ever. However, she has won all of the previous 3 matches against Rybakina. That said all those games had gone to 3 sets and also the two haven’t met since the 2021 Wimbledon.

Sabalenka reached the final without dropping a set and she has by far the best stats regarding her own serve of any player in the tournament. Focusing on holding her own serve will be crucial. Also managing her nerves is likely to be decisive against the ever dangerous Rybakina.

The Kazakh has a slight edge in that she already won 1 Grand Slam, the 2022 Wimbledon. She also beat the world number 1 and top favourite Swiatek on her way to this final, so she will believe she can defeat anyone.

Still considering Sabalenka’s current form we believe she will be able to win this match, even if she needs 3 sets to do it and with this add her name to the list of female Grand Slam winners.

Sabalenka Australian Open 2023 Results

  • Sabalenka vs Martincova – Won – 6-1, 6-4 (2023 Australia Open 1st Round)

  • Sabalenka vs Rogers – Won – 6:3, 6-1 (2023 Australian Open 2nd Round)
  • Sabalenka vs Mertens – Won – 6-2, 6-3 (2023 Australian Open 3rd Round)
  • Sabalenka vs Bencic – Won – 7-5, 6-2 (2023 Australian Open 4th Round)
  • Sabaelnka vs Vekic – Won – 6-3, 6-2 (2023 Australian Open quarterfinal)
  • Sabaelnka vs Linette – Won – 7-6 (1), 6-2 (2023 Australian Open semifinals)

Sabalenka recorded 6 impressive wins so far, with very dominant displays in all of these matches. Last she cruised past Linette. The start was tough and Sabalenka lost her first service game. She looked clearly nervous in what was her first-ever Australian Open semifinal. Sabalenka regrouped quickly though and ended up winning the opening set with an easy 7:1 tiebreak. There was no stopping her after that and she dropped just 2 games in set 2 to book her place in a Grand Slam singles final for the first time in her career.

Sabalenka is yet to drop a set and she has rushed through 4 of her 6 matches so far in less than an hour. This should give a fitness edge going forward, even if she needs to endure a long closely-contested matchup.

Big serves, powerful ground strokes, great movement across the court were all part of Sabalenka’s characteristics in the 5 games so far.

Jessica Pegula – eliminated in the quarterfinals

Jessica Pegula is currently the number 3 ranked player as of the WTA ranking’s most recent update (January 9th 2023). She has improved at a remarkable rate over the last 12-18 months. And since she is ranked 3 in the world, naturally, she is also the number 1 ranked American on tour. Because of these things, there is a fair bit of excitement surrounding what Pegula could possibly do at the 2023 Australian Open.

She was the second favourite for the title at the start of the quarterfinals but very disappointing display saw her crash out. Pegula’s Australian Open ended in major disappointment as she also failed to make it to the Women’s Doubles final despite being heavily favoured with her partner Gauff in the semis.

Pegula Australian Open 2023 Results

  • Pegula vs Cristian – Won – 6-0, 6-1 (2023 Australia Open 1st Round)

  • Pegula vs Sasnovich – Won – 6-2, 7-6 (5) (2023 Australian Open 2nd Round)
  • Pegula vs Kostyuk – Won – 6-0, 6-2 (2023 Australian Open 3rd Round)
  • Pegula vs Krejcikova – Won – 7-5, 6-2 (2023 Australian Open 4th Round)
  • Pegula vs Azarenka – Lost – 4-6, 1-6 (2023 Australian Open quarterfinals)

Pegula won seemingly easily in round 3 against Kostyuk, but the result is very deceiving as the American didn’t play very well. Just like in her round 2 match she had problems with her serve. This saw Pegula allowing 9 breakpoints to Kostyuk and only her composure helped her to actually win without much bother.

It has been 2 consecutive matches that Pegula’s serve had been very weak. This must be worrying her.

She improved on her serve in round 4 against Krejcikova, although she got broken twice in that match and had to dig very deep to win set 1 7-5. Once she did that things got easier and she progressed without much drama.

However, after several games with worrying signs came the quarterfinal against the vastly experienced Azarenka. Pegula once again had problems winning points on her own serve and once she fell 0:3 down in 12 minutes she was in a hole. Azarenka never allowed the American to recover and Pegula’s journey in singles ended in bitter disappointment.

Caroline Garcia – eliminated in round 4

Garcia is also a fabulous hardcourt player, and her 2022 season was quite remarkable. She won the WTA Finals and a Masters 1000 event in the 2022 season. So to say that she has what it takes to win these major titles would be a clear understatement.

That said despite 11 years of trying Garcia is yet to reach a Grand Slam final. Her US Open semi-final last autumn is her best ever Grand Slam achievement, the previous best Roland Garros quarter-final back in 2017. As far as the Australian Open women’s tournament is concerned Garcia has a very poor record down under. In 4 of 11 previous Australian Open appearances, Garcia was eliminated in the first round, including last year. She is yet to go beyond round 4, reached that far only once in 2018, and only 3 times made it past round 2. Garcia will also be distracted by the appearance of her double, who she is one of the favourites. Still, Garcia has 10 WTA singles titles already. She also comes fresh off her best ever Grand Slam appearance and 2022 WTA Finals singles title.

All this didn’t help her though and she once again crashed out of the tournament in round 4 after unexpected defeat against an unseeded opponent.

Garcia Australian Open 2023 Results

  • Garcia vs Sebov – Won – 6-3, 6-0 (2023 Australia Open 1st Round)

  • Garcia vs Fernandez – Won – 7-6(5), 7-5 (2023 Australian Open 2nd Round)
  • Garica – Siegemund – Won – 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 (2023 Australian Open 3rd Round)
  • Garcia – Linette – Lost – 6-7 (3), 4-6 (2023 Australian Open 4th Round)

Garcia had to come from a set down in round 3 against the dangerous German Siegemund. Eventually she won, but the game was tough and it had been 2 rounds in a row now Garcia has problems with her serve and her returns. She struggled winning enough points on her second serve in these 2 matches.

Failing to adress these issues Garcia continued to be very shaky on her own serve in round 4 and this saw her losing against the world number 45 Magda Linette in straight sets. Garica fought and scrambled in this match, but it was to no avail as she lost both sets, despite having opportunities to win both.

Coco Gauff – eliminated in round 4

Last but not least, Coco Gauff moves in to take the spot as the fifth favourite. She’s a top 10 player these days, and she did make her second Grand Slam final in Paris in 2022. But she hasn’t progressed beyond the 4th round in Australia either, which remains the case after she was eliminated exactly in round 4 this year too.

Now aged 18 the youngest WTA singles title winner since 2004 (she won the title at Linz when only 15) Gauff is hungry to finally lift her first-ever Grand Slam trophy. She went close last year when reaching her first-ever Grand Slam singles final at Roland Garros. She also made the US Open’s quarter-finals in 2022, so she’s clearly moving closer to winning a Major. Her Australian Open record so far is a bit discouraging though. On her debut in 2020 reached the round of 16, but in 2021 went out in round 2 and last year stumbled at the opening hurdle. Also on all her promise Gauff still has only 2 WTA singles titles to her name, with the last won back in 2021.

Gauff Australian Open 2023 Results

  • Gauff vs Siniakova – Won – 6-1, 6-4 (2023 Australia Open 1st Round)

  • Gauff – Raducanu – Won – 6-3, 7-6 (3) (2023 Australian Open 2nd Round)
  • Gauff vs Pera – Won – 6-3, 6-2 (2023 Australian Open 3rd Round)
  • Gauff vs Ostapenko – Lost – 5-7, 3-6 (2023 Australian Open 4th Round)

Gauff win her first 3 games without dropping a set. The world number 7 looked very solid in those matches and kept amassing impressive number of winners. She looked solid and composed.

However, in round 4 she met a player that was hitting the ball even harder than Gauff and this proved her undoing. Against Ostapenko the American struggled to dominate rallies and also looked very vulnerable on her own serve. She fought well early in the first set but after losing it 5-7 her morale dropped and her ultimate exit of the tournament was actually painful to watch as the manner in which she lost the last 2 games of the match was very disappointing.

Gauff is still very young, only 18, so she’s bound to learn from all this and return to Melbourne with much better attitude and game plan in future years.


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About the author

Iskra

Iskra had a promising, at least she believed so, tennis and volleyball careers as a junior but a series of injuries ended her hopes to become a professional athlete very early.

Instead, she focused all her energy on her other passion, writing. For over a decade, Iskra had been a freelance sports writer. Football, basketball and tennis are the main fields of her expertise.