Dust off your best bucket hat, whip out the white zinc, grab your sturdiest pair of thongs and get ready for the first (best) grand slam of the year! It’s Australian Open time, Ladies & Gents, and we couldn’t be more excited to preview the Men’s & Women’s singles events for 2020. Let’s go!
If you’re in Australia, you can catch all the action on Channel 9, or on your mobile device with the 9NOW App. If you’re overseas you can catch the action on the Sky Go App or on your TV with Eurosport.
ATP: Can Anyone Beat The Big 3?
Yeah, look, um, yeah. Probably not. It’s tough to salvage contenders that aren’t named Sir’s Djokovic, Nadal or Federer. There are 3 things certain in life – death, taxes and the big 3. Will this remain the case in this new decade? It remains to be seen. But Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal continue to dominate the ATP Tour. Despite their advancing ages, between them they have won 55 of the past 66 majors, stretching back to Federer’s first ever Wimbledon triumph in 2003 (including the last 12 grand slams).
WTA: The Kids Rule
Bianca Andreescu, Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka have won 3 of the past 4 grand slams and are all aged under 23. Andreescu will be absent in Melbourne, so there could be an opportunity for experience to fill the void. As always, picking a winner for the women’s singles at a Grand Slam is extremely difficult. 23 time Grand Slam Winner Serena Williams, current Wimbledon Champion Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova have the experience and game to take the title.
ATP: The Contenders
No. 1 ranked Rafael Nadal headlines the first quarter of the men’s draw, with his main challengers being Nick Kyrgios, Gael Monfils, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Karen Khachanov and Dominic Thiem. All are extremely talented and would usually pose a threat in an ATP event, but beating this tenacious world no. 1 over 5 sets is a tall order – too much for this bunch. We’ll take Rafa as a semi-finalist from this quarter.
Daniil Medvedev could be closing in on making this big 3 party, a big 4 once again. How? Winning a grand slam. He has 2019 quarter-finalist, Frances Tiafoe 1st up, and will also have to contend with John Isner, former Australian Open Champion Stan Wawrinka, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Alexander Zverev and David Goffin. Not to mention THE hottest person on the ATP tour right now – Andrey Rublev. Despite this, we’ll take the crafty and awkward Medvedev to make the semi-finals from this quarter – but he will have burnt up plenty of gas along the way.
Roger Federer sits as the no. 3 seed and has a great draw to work with. Hubert Hurkacz could be awkward in the 2nd round, but Matteo Berrettini, Denis Shapovalov, Jannik Sinner, Borna Coric, Fabio Fognini and Reilly Opelka are the main threats. We’ll take the GOAT, the Swiss Maestro, to come through as the semi-finalist.
World no. 2 and recent ATP Cup hero, Novak Djokovic, headlines the 4th quarter of the draw. He’s 68-8 at the Australian Open, and the 7 time champion looks primed to take out his 8th. Challengers in his quarter are Tour Finals winner Stefanos Tsitsipas, the most consistent man on tour Roberto Bautista-Agut, and the lionhearted Argentinian, Diego Schwartzman. We’re taking Novak, enough said.
WTA: The Contenders:
The 1st quarter in the draw is headlined by World no. 1 and Aussie crowd favourite, Ash Barty. She has to contend with Madison Keys and Petra Kvitova, who have form coming into the tournament and significant slam experience to draw upon. Despite this, we’ll take Ash to be a semi-finalist from this quarter.
The 2nd quarter of the draw is dense with contenders, particularly from an American standpoint. Defending champion, Naomi Osaka, is contending with Serena & Venus Williams, wunderkind Coco Gauff, Sloane Stephens, Shuai Zhang, Sofia Kenin, Johanna Konta, Caroline Wozniacki and Dayana Yastremska. Yeah, I told you! This quarter is FILLED with talent. Experience counts, however, so let’s go with Serena to make the semi-finals.
The 3rd quarter is much more open, and is headlined by Simona Halep. The world no. 4 will be challenged by Belinda Bencic, Aryna Sabalenka, Danielle Collins, the slice & dice of Su-Wei Hshieh and Jennifer Brady. I like Simona Halep in this quarter, she is a severely underrated player and I’m picking her to make it to the semi-finals.
The 4th quarter is headlined by Brisbane International Champion, Karolina Pliskova, and Elina Svitolina. Challengers come in the form of Garbine Muguruza, wunderkind Amanda Anisimova and Kiki Bertens. Pliskova is the best player on the WTA tour yet to win a slam. Her road to the semi’s is TOUGH, with Kiki Mladenovic in the first round, Coco Vandeweghe in the second round, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round, and, possibly, Angelique Kerber in the fourth. If she comes through this, she will be ready to have a serious crack at the title. I think she will.
ATP: Semi Finals
Medvedev beats Nadal 3-2
Federer beats Djokovic 3-1
WTA: Semi Finals
Barty beats S. Williams 2-1
Pliskova beats Halep 2-1
Federer beats Medvedev 3-1
The GOAT has potentially 1 (maybe 2) more cracks at the Australian Open. Nadal & Djokovic are right on his heels in the race for the most Grand Slams, and I think this is where Federer stretches his lead and further cements his spot as the best ever. AND makes up for the close loss he suffered against Djokovic at Wimbledon last year.
Barty beats Pliskova 2-1
Looking to become the first player from Australia to win the Australian Open Singles title since 1978, Ash is primed after an Adelaide International Victory which saw her win her first title on home soil. With that monkey off her back, Ash will use her slice to nullify the heavy groundstrokes of Pliskova, and use the heavy home support to drive her home deep into the match.