World No.1 Iga Swiatek leads Australian Open entry list

Melbourne : World No.1 Iga Swiatek leads the entry list for next year’s Australian Open, which is based on the WTA rankings of the week beginning December 5. Reigning Roland Garros and US Open champion Swiatek is one of 13 current or former Grand Slam winners who have entered the first major of 2023, which begins on January 16.

The Pole, who reached her first Australian Open semifinal this year, will be bidding to add a fourth Grand Slam title to her haul so far. Three former Australian Open champions are in the line-up — Victoria Azarenka (2012-13), Naomi Osaka (2019, 2021) and Sofia Kenin (2020) — as well as three former Australian Open runners-up, Petra Kvitova (2019), Garbie Muguruza (2020) and Danielle Collins (2022).

This year’s champion, Ashleigh Barty, retired from professional tennis in March and will not defend her title. Alongside Swiatek, Azarenka, Osaka, Kenin, Kvitova and Muguruza, the remaining roster of Grand Slam champions with direct entry comprises Jelena Ostapenko, Barbora Krejcikova, Elena Rybakina, Sloane Stephens, Bianca Andreescu and Emma Raducanu.

Additionally, seven-time major winner Venus Williams will compete as a wild card. As per WTA, nineteen of the world’s Top 20 are entered, with the only exception being the provisionally suspended Simona Halep.

Kenin, currently ranked No.240 and on the comeback trail after an injury-struck season, is one of 11 players using a special ranking to enter the main draw. The others include two former Grand Slam finalists, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Marketa Vondrousova, as well as Karolina Muchova, Nadia Podoroska, Laura Siegemund, Jaqueline Cristian, Patricia Maria Tig, Evgeniya Rodina, Zheng Saisai and Kristina Kucova.

No.95-ranked Ysaline Bonaventure is the last player to be directly accepted into the main draw. In the event of withdrawals, the next five players in would be Harriet Dart, Kateryna Baindl, Dayana Yastremska, Alycia Parks and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

The qualifying entry list has also been released, based on the rankings of December 19, with the last initial direct acceptance being World No.219 Anastasia Gasanova. Six players have used special rankings to enter the qualifying draw: Eugenie Bouchard, Zoe Hives, Katarina Zavatska, Barbara Haas, Kathinka Von Deichmann and Arina Rodionova.

The top five alternates are Sophie Chang, Robin Montgomery, Rosa Vicens Mas, Katherine Sebov and Ekaterine Gorgodze. Five out of eight wild cards have been officially announced. In addition to two-time runner-up Williams, No.110-ranked Diane Parry has received the French Tennis Federation’s reciprocal wild card.

The 20-year-old reached her career-high of No.58 in October after a rookie tour season that included a maiden WTA semifinal in Granby and an upset of defending champion Barbora Krejcikova in the first round of Roland Garros.

Local hopes Storm Hunter, Olivia Gadecki and Talia Gibson have also received wild cards. No.241-ranked Hunter, 28, is also a Top 10 doubles player and was instrumental in Australia’s run to the Billie Jean King Cup final last month.

Gadecki, 20, has compiled a 37-18 pro record in 2022; while 18-year-old Gibson rose from No.1200 to No.364 over the course of this year.

 

 

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