Five Possible Intriguing Women's First Round Clashes At Australian Open

Five Possible Intriguing Women's First Round Clashes At Australian Open

by Nurein Ahmed

Tennis fans can now begin the count for the first Grand Slam tournament of the upcoming season, which is set to commence at the Australian Open.

There is intrigue and uncertainty regarding several returning WTA stars, including former champions Naomi Oska and Angelique Kerber, who will rejoin the tour after taking a maternity break.

The 2024 Australian Open entry list has officially been released, and it is now time to look ahead at the potential first-round matches that could come to fruition at next month's tournament.

5. Angelique Kerber vs Caroline Wozniacki

Two veterans and returning mothers who have done it all. Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki will lead the charge of four former champions making their tennis return at the 2024 Australian Open.

Wozniacki has been granted a wild card (six months after coming out of retirement), while Kerber rejoins the tour from maternity leave and will use a Special Ranking. That means we could get this duel between two former World No. 1s and Australian Open champions in the first round.

4. Marta Kostyuk vs Mirra Andreeva

This doesn't look like a matchup worthy of everyone's attention. But an intriguing part of their backstory stemmed from a recent exhibition tournament in France during the offseason where Mirra Andreeva was scheduled to play Marta Kostyuk in the final.

The Ukrainian had accepted the torumanet's invitation to replace an injured Donna Vekic. But after learning that she would face a Russian in the match, Kostyuk had a change of heart after being bombarded with threats from her home country and withdrew.

Andreeva played an ATP pro to save the exhibition in an extraordinary turn of events. Kostyuk and Andreeva will be unseeded at next month's Australian Open, and nothing can prevent this matchup from happening except for the computers that generate the draw.

3. Aryna Sabalenka vs Marta Kostyuk

This could be a spicy affair. Aryna Sabalenka and Marta Kostyuk have played in the first round of a Grand Slam before, and it was far from a dull affair. At least that ensured after the match because the Belarusian completely outplayed her Ukrainian counterpart at the 2023 French Open.

Kostyuk was infamously booed by the Parisian crowd for her refusal to shake hands with World No. 2, and the incident became a major talking point for days during the tournament.

Kostyuk has fared well against the Top 10 players since that defeat, earning three wins in the second half of 2023, and these two could potentially be on a collision course in Melbourne.

2. Naomi Osaka vs Qinwen Zheng

Naomi Osaka is the most prominent Asian tennis player in the current era. But in her absence, Qinwen Zheng has seized control of proceedings, breaking the world's Top 20 for the first time in her career and seeing her stock skyrocket.

Zheng hasn't forgotten how Osaka poached her coach, Wim Fisette, from right under her nose at the 2023 US Open. The Chinese rising star will look to serve sweet revenge should she meet the two-time Australian Open champion in the opening round.

1. Coco Gauff vs Naomi Osaka

It's a blockbuster match that is befitting of any Grand Slam final. But tournament organizers will be scratching their heads if this matchup happens as early as day one and one of the WTA's prized assets exit the tournament.

Interestingly, Gauff defeated Osaka at the 2020 Australian Open, ending the Japanese woman's title defense in the third round.

They have split their four head-to-head matches evenly, and it will, in all probability, be the biggest WTA match of the brand-new season if it happens in the opening round in Melbourne.


You may also like