As we've come to expect in recent years, the women's side of the Australian Open is anyone's for the taking. Current stars look to consolidate their success, up-and-comers continue to push for a breakthrough and players hanging around near the top look eagerly for their chance to take over.

In Melbourne this fortnight, all of these dynamics will be at play starting with the very first round. Here are three can't-miss Round 1 women's matches that could set the tone for the tournament.


Last August, on the first day of the US Open, the women's side of the tournament was sent into disarray just over an hour into the event. Halep—world No. 1, Australian Open finalist and Roland Garros champion—was knocked out in the first round 6-2, 6-4 by No. 44 Kanepi, who belted 26 winners in the two sets.

Now, in what could be considered an unfortunate draw for both of them, Halep and Kanepi are first-round opponents in back-to-back Slams. However, for the top seed, this is an opportunity to prove the US Open was a fluke. For Kanepi, it's a chance to prove it wasn't.



Andreescu bursted onto the mainstream scene just this month. An 18-year-old Canadian, she opened her season by winning seven matches in a row, in Auckland, coming through qualifying to consecutively beat Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams and Su-Wei Hsieh. She made it all the way to the final, her first one, where she took second seed Julia Goerges to three sets.

Osuigwe, a French Open girls' champion and former junior No. 1, may be on an equally prodigious track. At age 16, she won the USTA's Wild Card Challenge.


No. 22 and No. 43, both Ostapenko and Sakkari will look to level up to their full potential in 2019. While Ostapenko failed to follow up in full last year on her Roland Garros championship, her runs to the Miami final and Wimbledon semifinals show that 2017 wasn't a flash in the pan.

Ostapenko's peak level of performance remains as high as just about any other player's, but Sakkari, who made her first final in San Jose last year, is also starting to make a major impact on tour.


Three can't-miss
first-round women's

Three can't-miss first-round women's matches

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