Barty-Osaka fourth round clash highlights Aus Open draw
A MASSIVE potential fourth round clash between reigning champion Naomi Osaka and world number one Ash Barty highlighted the women’s Australian Open draw today. In an unbelievable sight, arguably the two best players in the world – and two favourites will instead meet in the Round of 16 instead of the final. Though Osaka has a tough run having only returned from injury lately. Here are some of the talking points of the women’s draw.
What does Ash Barty’s draw look like?
Australian fans were glued to their screens to see if the world number one could pull a good draw, and at first it looked it, copping fourth seed Barbora Krejcikova over third seed Garbine Muguruza in the potential semi-finals. Barty then was faced with the likely prospect of Maria Sakkari, the lowest ranked potential quarter finalist and eighth seed. But that slight relief was then countered by copping Ons Jabeur in Sakkari’s eighth as a potential quarter finalist.
Nothing would come close to finding out that Osaka would land in her own eighth and setting up a potential fourth round match. It was the worst possible outcome for the Australian, though her run to that point appears far easier. She will have no troubles fending off a qualifier and then likely young Russian Varvara Gracheva who has struggled against top opponents. A potential third round against Camila Giorgi is also nothing to fear for the Australian, but then it gets serious with a likely Osaka clash – though Belinda Bencic could have something to say about that.
How about Naomi Osaka’s draw?
Whilst she faces the same long-term fixtures as Barty, her first three matches are far from easy. She has drawn 20-year-old young gun Maria Camila Osorio Serrano from Columbia making her first main draw appearance. Do not let that fool you though, with the talented player reaching a third round at Wimbledon and won the junior girls singles title at the 2019 US Open. After that she could play Dayana Yastremska or Madison Brengle with either Bencic or the talented Amanda Anisimova in the third round.
What about the other Aussies?
In a word. Nightmare. The majority of the Aussie women have copped highly-ranked players and outside of Barty, it looks likely that no more than one or two others might advance. The best chance is Daria Saville who takes on Rebecca Peterson, whilst Samantha Stosur has a chance to out on a high in her final Australian Open, taking on United States’ wildcard Robin Anderson. That is where the possibilities stop in what is a horror show for the Australian’s luck.
Storm Sanders faces world number two Aryna Sabalenka, Ajla Tomljanovic meets eighth seed Paula Badosa, Maddison Inglis takes on 2021 US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez and Priscilla Hon has to clash with 2019 Roland Garros runner-up Marketa Vondrousova. All their opponents are seeded, whilst Astra Sharma is set to take on Clara Tauson who is a future Top 10 player out of Denmark and someone capable of winning a Grand Slam one day.
What are some of the first round matches to watch?
 Belinda Bencic (SUI) vs. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
Elena-Gabriela Ruse (ROU) vs. Jasmine Paolini (ITA)
Donna Vekic (CRO) vs. Alison Riske (USA)
Petra Martic (CRO) vs. Jil Teichmann (SUI)
 Sofia Kenin (USA) vs. Madison Keys (USA)
 Paula Badosa (ESP) vs. Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS)
Ana Konjuh (CRO) vs. Shelby Rogers (USA)
 Emma Raducanu (GBR) vs. Sloane Stephens (USA)
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