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Action at the first Grand Slam of the year is just days away as the best women get set for the 2023 Australian Open. Iga Swiatek is once again the favorite — but can someone stop her, someone perhaps like Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula, or Caroline Garcia.
Universal Tennis INSIGHTS is helping break down the favorites and dark horses to watch.
2023 Australian Open Women's Favorites, according to Universal Tennis INSIGHTS
(1) Iga Swiatek - 14%
(3) Jessica Pegula - 8%
(4) Caroline Garcia - 7%
(18) Liudmila Samsonova - 7%
(22) Elena Rybakina - 5%
(2) Ons Jabeur - 5%
(9) Veronika Kudermetova - 4%
(8) Daria Kasatkina - 4%
(19) Ekaterina Alexandrova - 4%
(15) Petra Kvitova - 4%
Favorite to Win the 2023 Australian Open
(1) Iga Swiatek (UTR Rating 13.15)
With 22% odds, Swiatek is by far the most obvious pick for the 2023 champion. The 21-year-old Pole was dominant in 2022, winning a whopping eight titles, including Roland Garros and the US Open. She compiled a 67-9 win-loss record, unmatched by any male or female on the planet.
Swiatek made the semifinals in Melbourne Park last year and will look to take things further this fortnight. She opens against Jule Niemeier, and the first seed she may face is Marie Bouzkova, who is seeded No. 25 but has the eighth-highest UTR Rating.
Most Likely to Make a Deep Run
(3) Jessica Pegula (12.89)
Jessica Pegula enters the Australian Open with her highest career WTA ranking of No. 3. She’s second on the Universal Tennis list of favorites with the second-highest UTR Rating in the women’s field. The 28-year-old American is extremely comfortable Down Under, having made her first major breakthrough there in 2021 when she reached the quarterfinals. She’s been consistently rising ever since, appearing in three Grand Slam quarterfinals in 2022.
Pegula is heavily favored to get past her first-round opponent, Jaqueline Cristian. What could await her in the second round is 15-year-old qualifier Brenda Fruhvirtova, who picked up the honor of 2022 Universal Tennis junior player of the year, or experienced Belarusian Aliaksanda Sasnovich.
(4) Caroline Garica (12.90)
Next with the highest odds of going far in Oz is Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia. Seeded No. 4, Garcia enters the new season riding high after a stellar second half of 2023. She saw her UTR Rating jump by +78 (peaking at a UTR 12.98), and she won the biggest titles of her career in Cincinnati and at the WTA Finals in Fort Worth.
Her draw will be tricky as she opens against qualifier Katherine Sebov and could face giant killer Alize Cornet or 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez in the second round.
(5) Aryna Sabalenka (12.72)
Although she’s been a staple at the top of the game for years, Aryna Sabalenka has yet to reach a major final. The 24-year-old Belarusian got her season underway on the right foot with a title in Adelaide. She also ended her 2022 season strong with a run to the championship match of the WTA Finals, falling to a red-hot Garcia.
(7) Coco Gauff (12.66)
Last year’s Roland Garros finalist Coco Gauff is ready to win a big one, it’s only a matter of time. The American teenager made good on her top seeding in Auckland to win her third WTA title and first since 2019.
She’s got a tricky first round against Katerina Siniakova, who is more well-known for her multiple doubles Grand Slam titles but is a threat in singles, too. Gauff could face Emma Raducanu in the second round, and the first seed in her section is the fast-rising 20-year-old Zheng Qinwen.
Sleeper Picks to Watch
Sofia Kenin (12.15)
The 24-year-old American lifted the Australian Open trophy three years ago but enters this edition unseeded. She opens against two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, but something about an uphill battle has always motivated Kenin.
Per INSIGHTS, Kenin has a 26% chance of taking out the Belarusian, and if she does, 2021 Roland Garros semifinalist Nadia Podoroska could await, followed by 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys. It's a stacked section of the draw, and yet, flying under the radar could be just what Kenin needs to get her career turned around.
(18) Liudmila Samsonova (12.84)
Liudmila Samsonova sits high on the INSIGHTS odds list of going all the way in Melbourne, fourth from the top, in fact. Her UTR Rating of 12.84 places her as the sixth-highest rated female in the draw, though her WTA ranking is No. 20 and Australian Open seeding is No. 18. The 24-year-old won three titles in 2022, in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and Tokyo. The first seed she could face is No. 14 Beatriz Haddad Maia. She's in the same quarter of the draw as No. 2 seed Ons Jabeur, who reached two major finals in 2022.
More on the 2023 Australian Open:
UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, January 13, 2023.