These women have the chance to win their first Grand Slam.

The world’s top tennis players will converge on Melbourne Park for a packed fortnight for the Australian Open 2023, which is finally knocking at the door. The 111th Australian Open is scheduled to start on the 16th of January, 2023. The first major tournament of the season will begin without challengers like Paula Badosa, Venus and Serena Williams, Ashleigh Barty, and Naomi Osaka.

Just eight days before the commencement of the first Grand Slam of the year, two-time champion Naomi Osaka announced that she is pulling out of this year’s Australian Open. The event was won by Osaka in 2019 and 2021. She hasn’t competed on the World Tennis Association (WTA) Tour since September, and as a result, her ranking has dropped to 42.

Paula Badosa has withdrawn from the 2023 Australian Open. Due to a thigh injury she acquired earlier this week in a warm-up tournament, the 11th-seeded Spaniard withdrew from the season’s initial Grand Slam.

There are opportunities for young folks to get attention when several top names are absent. Also, Elina Svitolina, Ons Jabeur and Jessica Pegula are clearly among the favourites for this year’s championship given their prior Grand Slam victories and a great 2022 season. It may surprise both spectators and other players, but there are other guys who could go on a run and win the championship.

To that end, let’s take a look at 5 dark horses for the women’s singles championship who might be in position for the Australian Open in Melbourne:

5. Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)

Former World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova has won 16 championships. She has reached the semifinals of four Grand Slam titles, including the one in Australia in 2019. The 30-year-old Czech, who is presently ranked No. 31 in the world, has lately seen a decline in her position as a result of her failure to win a title in 2018.

The 2019 Australian Open semifinal appearance by Pliskova was her best performance to date there. Pliskova, however, could pose a challenge to the favourites and etch her name into the trophy in Melbourne given the start of her 2023 campaign, when she put on excellent performances in the Adelaide International 1 and Adelaide International 2.

4. Qinwen Zheng (China)

Yes, she recently retired in Adelaide to Petra Kvitova and in this, she can give her very best for the Australian Open.  For Qinwen Zheng, a breakthrough tournament is just around the corner, and it might be the Happy Slam. 

3. Petra Kvitova (Czech)

Kvitova is preparing to compete in the Major where she made it to the finals in 2019. After having a very eventful 2022 season, which included overcoming a recurring wrist injury, winning her 28th career title in East Bourne, and getting engaged weeks later at Wimbledon Championships, Kvitova is ready to compete.

2. Coco Gauff (USA)

Coco Gauff, who is only 19 years old, has dazzled everyone with her talent since surprising everyone by upsetting Venus Williams in straight sets at Wimbledon in 2019. Gauff, a young and promising athlete, has not yet achieved a Grand Slam victory. In 2022, she nearly won the French Open. Gauff has received accolades from people all across the world, and many think she will soon rule women’s tennis. In the current world rankings, Coco Gauff is ranked seventh.

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1. Ons Jabeur

Jabeur has been granted a favorable draw for this tournament since she is the number 2 seed. Assuming everything goes according to plan, things appear to be quite simple until Jabeur advances to the fourth round. Here, she might compete against the seeds Samsanova or Haddad Maia. Ons Jabeur will, however, prevail over either of these competitors on a hard court, in our opinion. But even if she prevails in this game, the quarter-finals will be a huge test for her. Since she reached the finals of both the US Open and Wimbledon, losing to Swiatek and Rybakina respectively, she would be looking to break her grand slam duck in the Australian Open.

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