Top Australian Open women’s contenders | Ralph Lauren

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HOW THE LEADING WOMEN SHAPE UP FOR THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN STARTING ON MONDAY:

ASH BARTY (AUS)

Age: 24

Ranking: 1

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US17,594,569

Career titles: 9

Grand slam titles: 1 (French Open 2019)

Australian Open win-loss record: 13-7

Best Australian Open result: semi-finals 2020

In a stunning return to the game following a near-year-long hiatus, Australia’s big home hope fired a warning to her rivals by capturing her ninth career title at the Yarra Valley Classic.

SIMONA HALEP (ROM)

Age: 29

Ranking: 2

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US37,045,910

Career titles: 22

Grand slam titles: 2 (French Open 2018; Wimbledon 2019)

Australian Open win-loss record: 24-10

Best Australian Open result: runner-up 2018

The Romanian enters the Open a little underdone having played just three matches since the French Open last October but her class and competitive fire cannot be questioned.

NAOMI OSAKA (JPN)

Age: 23

Ranking: 3

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US17,770,234

Career titles: 6

Grand slam titles: 3 (Australian Open 2019; US Open 2018, 2020)

Australian Open win-loss record: 15-4

Best Australian Open result: champion 2019

The early Open favourite is playing down a mysterious “niggling” injury after withdrawing from her warm-up event in Melbourne and will take a power of stopping if she progresses to week two.

SOFIA KENIN (USA)

Age: 22

Ranking: 4

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US2,935,581

Career titles: 5

Grand slam titles: 1 (Australian Open 2020)

Australian Open win-loss record: 8-2

Best Australian Open result: champion 2020

The 2020 player of the year after backing up her Melbourne Park grand slam breakthrough with a run to the Roland Garros final and is seeded to make the semi-finals at least.

ELINA SVITOLINA (UKR)

Age: 26

Ranking: 5

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US19,247,635

Career titles: 15

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 17-8

Best Australian Open results: quarter-finals 2018, 2019

The Ukrainian is desperate to shake her tag as the best women’s player yet to win a grand slam title but doubts remain over her big-match temperament.

SERENA WILLIAMS (USA)

Age: 39

Ranking: 11

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US93,634,967

Career titles: 73

Grand slam titles: 23 (Australian Open 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017; French Open 2002, 2013, 2015; Wimbledon 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016; US Open 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014)

Australian Open win-loss record: 87-12

Best Australian Open results: champion 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017; runner-up 2016

The American superstar has been stranded one shy of Margaret Court’s all-time grand slam singles record since her seventh Open triumph four years ago and time is running out.

BEST OUTSIDER

ARYNA SABALENKA (BLR)

Age: 22

Ranking: 7

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US5,633,196

Career titles: 9

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 2-3

Best Australian Open result: third round 2019

The big-hitting Belarusian closed out her 2020 season with a three-title, 15-match winning streak to announce herself as a potential grand slam champion in waiting.

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