The Australian Open kicks off the start of the new tennis season in 2022 and is the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. The tournament opens on January 17 and ends on January 30, 2022, and the women’s final will be held on January 29.
The Australian Open is one of the most popular stops on the tour and a great way to start the New Year. As always, the field for the Women’s singles is expected to be extremely competitive with a number of leading contenders hoping to lift the trophy in Melbourne.
Some of the stand out names include Naomi Osaka, the defending champion and home favourite Ash Barty who is currently the world number one after adding the Wimbledon title to her French Open title earlier this year.
The outsiders include Leylah Fernandez, who has been enjoying a stellar season and comes into the Australian Open in top form and the dynamic Garbine Muguruza.
Barty and Osaka and the current joint-favourites with Betway Sports to lift the Australian Open Women’s Singles title, with Emma Raducanu at 9.00 and Muguruza at 11.00. Fernandez is a good outside bet at 21.00 given her current form.
What to Expect from the tournament?
Eight different players have won the Women’s Singles tournament at the Australian Open since 2010, making it an unpredictable tournament for punters.
Home favourite Barty will be desperate to add the Australian Open to her growing collection of Grand Slams and will have the support of the raucous Melbourne crown whenever she takes to the court. The current world number one does not have a great record in her home grand slam – she has lost in the second round of the tournament for the past four events and will be hoping to go much deeper in 2022.
With so many impressive young players coming through, it would be no surprise to find a ninth name added to the trophy since 2010 although Osaka will also be keen to put up a strong defence of the title she won 12 months ago in impressive style against fellow American Jennifer Brady. Osaka is one of only three players to have multiple wins since 2010 along with Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka.
Can Naomi Osaka successfully defend her title?
No female tennis player on the international circuit has won back-to-back titles in Women’s Singles at the Australian Open tournament since 2012-13 when Victoria Azarenka bucked the odds and won two straight titles convincingly in 2012 and 2013. Nine years later, Naomi Osaka has the opportunity to repeat the feat if she was to lift the title in 2022.
Tennis fans know that Naomi is not in the best form heading into the tournament. She has struggled for form throughout 2021 following her success at the Australian Open, taking breaks out of her season to take care of her mental health. She was knocked out of the French Open in the second round, missed Wimbledon and lost in the third round of the US Open.
Despite not heading into the tournament in the best of form, Osaka will still feel confident of defending her title. It’s a surface she likes and Melbourne is a place where she has claimed two of her Grand Slam titles – if she can remember those victories and discover a bit of form, Osaka will still be a name to look out for.
Can Ash Barty win on home soil?
Barty has ranked at the top of WTA Rankings since 2019, except for the odd period where she has been relegated to second, however, she is widely regarded as the leading female player at the moment and her ranking has never dropped below 20 in the last four years.
She won her first Grand Slam at the French Open in 2019, however, 2020 was a strange year in which she was absent from two of the Grand Slams that year through injury, only competing at the Australian Open where she lost in the semi-final. Last year, she started the Grand Slam season, losing in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open before going out in the second round at the French Open. Wimbledon was a huge breakout for Barty where she defeated Karolina Pliskova.
Until now, however, the Australian Open has eluded her. We can expect Barty to be the top seed for the 2022 tournament, and with fans in the stands, she is sure to get the additional boost she needs to win the elusive trophy.
Barty enters January, fresh from her nomination for her 4th Newcombe Medal and in a good place. She will be hoping 2022 is her year, putting her one win away from a career Grand Slam.
Can Emma Raducanu continue her Grand Slam form?
Emma Raducanu scored the biggest surprise win of the year after trumping another 18-year old at the US Open finals of 2021.
Her victory over fellow teen Leylah Fernandez at Flushing Meadows was surprising as it was the first time she had progressed beyond the fourth round in a Grand Slam. In fairness, Raducanu had been in stellar form at Wimbledon earlier in the year until she withdrew due to personal reasons, with a huge amount of pressure placed on her from the home crowd.
Raducanu will be making her Australian Open debut in Melbourne in 2022 so she is not yet expected to challenge for the title, however, she is definitely one of the names to look out for and one of the young guns transferring the power balance in women’s tennis.
The Australian Open is a notoriously open field in the women’s singles and this year will be no different. With no Serena Williams – a late withdrawal with injury – it seems likely that it will be one of the young emerging stars that is left to lift the trophy at the end of January. Whether Osaka can successfully defend her title, Barty or Raducanu can add to their Grand Slams or another up and coming star can breakthrough remains to be seen.