There will be no defending Women’s Champion when the Australian Open kicks off tomorrow, while Roger Federer will be seeking a second consecutive title.
Serena Williams had indicated her resolve to defend the title she won off her sister. After having her first child, she did not compete in any tournament until the Exhibition in Mudabala where she took a set but lost to former French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko.
With her low ranking on the WTA list, she would not have got a favourable slot in the Australian Open. Her withdrawal was not unexpected.
The world’s number one female player, Simona Halep of Romania, heads the pack in the Women’s Draw, while Garbine Muguruza is seeded second. As was the case last year, the Women’s event has no clear favourites.
This uncertainty of outcome is evidenced by the splashing of many Grand Slam title holders in lower parts of the Draw. Former number one Karolina Pliskova is seeded sixth followed by French Open Champion Jelena Ostapenko.
The 2017 US Open champion, Sloane Stephens is seeded thirteenth while the 2016 Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber is seeded twenty-one.