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Australian Open: Four players to watch in first major of 2023

Coco Gauff practiced at Melbourne Park ahead of the 2023 Australian Open. (Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

The 2023 Australian Open begins Monday, with top American players Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula both set to take the court on the first day of action.

Just Women’s Sports highlights Gauff, Pegula and two more players who should have your attention at the year’s first major tournament.

Coco Gauff

Gauff had a year to remember in 2022, including her first major final appearance at the French Open. And she’s off to a strong start in 2023 with a title win in Auckland. While just the third title of her career, she sits at No. 7 in the world.

“Honestly it’s been a fantastic week for me despite the rain, I can’t ask for a better start to the season,” Gauff said after the win in Auckland.

At the Australian Open, she’ll face off against world No. 48 Katerina Siniakova on Monday, though the match will begin at 7 p.m. ET Sunday in the United States, with Iga Swiatek potentially waiting in the quarterfinals.

Ons Jabeur

Ons Jabeur also had a standout 2022, reaching her first two Grand Slam finals at Wimbledon and the US Open. In doing so, she became the first African woman and the first Tunisian and Arab player – man or woman – to make a Grand Slam final.

While she didn’t come out on top in those matches, Jabeur did rocket up to a career-high world No. 2 ranking.

She’ll start her Australian Open run Tuesday against Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek.

Iga Swiatek

Last year, Swiatek made the Australian Open semifinals, but she fell to Madison Keys, who then lost to Ash Barty in the championship match. Barty retired immediately after that tournament, which clears the path between Swiatek and the title.

After the 2022 tournament, Swiatek went on a historic 37-match winning streak to cap off her ascent to the world No. 1 ranking.

She also won two majors on the year, including the US Open. At the US Open, she faced off against Jule Niemeier, who will be her first-round opponent at the Australian Open. Swiatek won their meeting in Flushing Meadows in three sets.

“It’s nice also that we played not so long ago, so I can take a lot from that match,” she said. “Now I know how her ball feels on the racquet. But she has the same.”

Jessica Pegula

Historically, Jessica Pegula has done well Down Under. In her past two appearances in the Australian Open, Pegula has made the quarterfinals. To open the year, she went 4-1 at the United Cup, which included a straight-set win over world No. 1 Swiatek.

She currently sits at No. 3 in the world, which is a career high. She’s the highest-ranked American, male or female, after only just cracking the top 100 in 2019. Last year, she made three quarterfinal appearances in the Grand Slams, including the US Open.

A month after the year’s final major, she won her first WTA 1000 title in Guadalajara, defeating four consecutive Grand Slam champions to do so.