Barty, Sabalenka, 5 Of Top 10 Lead Strong WTA Adelaide Field

by Staff | January 2nd, 2022, 11:27 pm
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The 2022 WTA season is already underway in Adelaide with some of the top names in women’s tennis.

The event is headlined by five of the Top 10 players led by No. 1 Ash Barty, Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari, Paula Badosa and 2021 champion Iga Swiatek.

Former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin returns along with Elena Rybakina, Elina Svitolina plus Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova and young stars Coco Gauff and US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez.

Barty could open the year against Gauff. The American teen drew a qualifier in her opener. Barty could face Kenin in the quarters and Badosa, Fernandez, Kvitova or Azarenka in the semifinals. In a rematch of their Indian Wells final thriller, Badosa and Azarenka meet in the best opening match of the event with the winner to perhaps face the unseeded Kvitova. Badosa and Azarenka are also playing doubles together.

“The funniest part is that I had practiced today with her,” Badosa told the WTA. “So yesterday after the draw came out, we were like, ‘What do we do?’ And we were like, ‘It’s OK for us. We can practice. I learn from you, she learns from me.’ The match is a thing and why not, we can practice the day before. So that’s what we did.”

In the bottom half, Sabalenka is slated to face Svitolina in the quarters while Sakkari, who already won tonight, could face Rybakina.

Last year, Swiatek upended Belinda Bencic in a post-Australian Open February final.

“It’s great because I had such a great memories from last year,” said Swiatek. “I remember playing few great matches here. The atmosphere was amazing, the crowd was amazing. It’s really nice to come back with those memories.

“This time that’s going to be my first tournament of the season so for sure it’s a little bit different. I’m just going to, you know, take time to get into the rhythm and just remember how it was on tour.”

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