Much like the Gippsland Trophy and the Yarra Valley Classic, the third WTA 500 tournament earlier than the 2021 Australian Open — the Grampians Trophy — will see some of the greatest stars vying for the title. The field is smaller than the other two Melbourne Summer Series events with solely 28 gamers within the singles fundamental draw. Evidently, that has made the standard of competition even tougher at the Grampians Trophy.
2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has received top billing at this tournament. World No. 12 Belinda Bencic is the second seed, whereas the resurgent Victoria Azarenka is the third seed. Russia’s Elena Rybakina seeded fourth, shall be among the prime contenders for the title as properly.
Fifth seed Maria Sakkari will goal to continue with her early-season heroics after reaching the semi-finals at Abu Dhabi final month. Anett Kontaveit, Jennifer Brady, and former Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber have obtained the sixth, seventh, and eighth seedings, respectively.
The Grampians Trophy was added to the calendar much lately in an try to give gamers facing a tough 14-day quarantine in Melbourne an opportunity to get the very best preparation. The five-day occasion will kick off on Wednesday, February 2 with the grand finale slated to be held on Sunday, February 7. Only the top 4 seeds have been granted a bye within the first round.
With the sector having a bunch of Main winners, veterans, and upcoming stars of the sport, we’re in for some enthralling matches on the Grampians Trophy. Allow us to have an in–depth look at the draw.
Top half: Bianca Andreescu, Victoria Azarenka, Ons Jabeur drew in the same section
Seeded players: (1) Bianca Andreescu, (3) Victoria Azarenka, (6) Anett Kontaveit, (8) Angelique Kerber
Expected semifinal: Bianca Andreescu vs Victoria Azarenka
Dark horse: Ons Jabeur
Analysis: The highest half has two players the tennis world shall be eagerly ready to watch. High seed Bianca Andreescu shall be seen in motion for the primary time for the reason that 2019 WTA Finals. As a 19-year-old, she had stunned Serena Williams to style success on the Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2019, turning into Canada’s first-ever singles Grand Slam champion.
Andreescu was bereft of an opportunity to build on that huge win as knee harm kept her out for 15 lengthy months. All eyes will naturally be on her because the eighth-ranked participant returns to aggressive tennis on the Grampians Trophy.
After an opening-round bye, Andreescu is likely to meet fellow Canadian Leylah Fernandez. The 18-year-old has been making speedy strides and completed as the runner-up at Acapulco final yr. Ought to the older Canadian progress, she might have the World No. 30 Ons Jabeur standing in her way.
The Tunisian is coming off a career-best season through which she made 5 quarter-finals. Presently perched at a career-high rating, she shall be hungry to get deeper into the draw after having lost within the Round of 16 at Abu Dhabi.
Jabeur, who might have to take care of former Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber within the second spherical, will current a stern take a look at for Andreescu. Her mix of energy and finesse will give the Canadian a good concept of her present level.
The draw will get tougher for the teen for awaiting her subsequent would be the two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, who has the most effective records Down Beneath. The previous World No. 1 could be optimistic of replicating the efforts of last season, which noticed her win at Cincinnati and attain finals on the US Open and Ostrava.
After a bye, Azarenka might begin her marketing campaign against the proficient Yulia Putintseva in an interesting encounter. The Kazakh won a couple of rounds at Abu Dhabi and Azarenka can’t afford an early lapse if she desires to advance further.
Sixth seed Anett Kontaveit shall be one other difficult opponent for the 31-year-old. If she will be able to efficiently negotiate these risks, Azarenka might discover herself dealing with Andreescu or Jabeur within the semi-finals.
Semifinal prediction: Ons Jabeur vs Victoria Azarenka
Bottom half: Belinda Bencic, Elena Rybakina, Maria Sakkari to battle for supremacy
Seeded players: (2) Belinda Bencic, (4) Elena Rybakina, (5) Maria Sakkari, (7) Jennifer Brady
Expected semifinal: Belinda Bencic vs Elena Rybakina
Dark horse: Maria Sakkari
Analysis: The stacked bottom half is wide open. A number of gamers have the opportunity of creating the final from this part.
Belinda Bencic helms this half however her place within the summit conflict is not assured. The Swiss wrapped up her 2020 season after an early loss at Rome. Her lack of match apply might work in opposition to her with there being fairly a couple of names who performed on the Abu Dhabi season opener.
Bencic is most probably to kickstart her campaign against World No. 72 Sorana Cirstea, who ended 2020 with the ITF 100,000 title at Dubai. If she progresses, Bencic must be at her flawless greatest for she might come up against the in-form Maria Sakkari or Veronika Kudermetova.
Each dazzled within the Center Eastern event. While Kudermetova reached the final, Sakkari made it to the final 4. The Greek has been a model of consistency for the previous one yr and has been to the semis of her final two tournaments. The powerful World No. 22 could thus show to be too scorching to deal with for Bencic.
The other quarter on this half has the fourth seed Elena Rybakina, seventh seed Jennifer Brady as well as the rising star Marta Kostyuk. Rybakina began the yr properly with a quarter-final look at Abu Dhabi. The Kazakh will look to bounce again on the Grampians Trophy but might want to see off the problem of Brady or Kostyuk in the quarter-finals.
The 18-year-old Kostyuk made a sensational run to the semis in Abu Dhabi, giving an exhibition of her immense expertise. Kostyuk is primed for one more scintillating present forward of the Australian Open if the likes of Brady and Rybakina should not at their greatest.
Semifinal prediction: Maria Sakkari vs Marta Kostyuk
Prediction for closing
Victoria Azarenka vs Maria Sakkari