The first tournament of the year starts tomorrow in Brisbane and sees world number 1 Angelique Kerber as the top seed along with four other top 10 players. The tournament suffers this year with the tournament in Auckland having the better line-up this year attracting Serena Williams among others. So let’s get started.
Quarter 1 Kerber (1) v Svitolina (6)
The top seed is Angelique Kerber who will get a bye into the 2nd round and will face either a qualifier or wildcard Ashleigh Barty. Last year was a real breakthrough for Kerber winning two grand slams and becoming world number 1. She has 2,360 points to defend in Australia and a good run here will help with valuable points. I think that she will have a good run here as she has done in the past. If it goes according to rankings then she could meet Elina Svitolina in the quarters. Svitolina will face Monica Puig in the first round this could be a tough match as when Puig is one she can play well as shown when she won gold at the Olympics. The winner of this match will go on to play the winner of the other first round match between Bouchard and Rogers. It will be the first time that the two have meet in a few years even though the head to head is in Rogers favour I can see Bouchard winning.
Kerber df Svitolina
Quarter 2 Pliskova (3) v Vinci (8)
Pliskova is the highest seed in the tournament and will play Putintseva in the first round this will be an entertaining match. Last summer Pliskova has a good few months but after reaching the US Open final she hasn’t been able to replicate that success. Vinci will face Tsurenko in her first round they meet twice last year with Vinci winning both but between the two Tsurenko had the better end to year even though I expect Vinci to win.
The winner of Vinci Tsurenko will play either Makarova Doi in the second round. The other first round match in the quarter is wildcard Vekic against and qualifier who will face the winner of either Pliskova Putintseva.
Pliskova df Doi
Quarter 3 Kuznetsova (5) v Muguruza (4)
Kuznetsova will face Louisa Chirico in the first round. Kuznetsova has a good year last year returning to the top 10, qualifying for Singapore, winning two titles as well as beating then world number 1 Serena Williams in Miami. It will be interesting to see if she can stay at this level. The winner of the match will face a qualifier.
Muguruza will face home favourite Sam Stour in the opening round. Aside from winning the French Open Muguruza hasn’t had a fantastic year. This year may pose some troubles for Muguruza if she can’t build on her success from 2015. The winner of this match will play either Begu or Kasatkina.
Kuznetsova df Muguruza
Quarter 4 Vesnina (7) v Cibulkova (2)
The second highest seed is Dominika Cibulkova who at the beginning of the year was ranked in the 60’s before ending to ranked 5 and winning the WTA finals. Australia is also a good place for Domi although she isn’t used to being one of the highest seeds in premier tournaments. The winner of this match will play either Siegemund or Zhang.
This time last year Vesnina was ranked outside the top 100 and had to enter qualifying to enter the main draw now she is the 7th seed proving just how good her season was last year. She will face Alize Cornet in her first round match. Cornet leads their head to head 6-4 but Vesnina won their most recent encounter. The winner of this match will play either Errani or Mchale which could be a close match.
Cibulkova df Vesnina
Kerber df Pliskova
Cibulkova df Kuznetsova
Kerber df Cibulkova