World No. 1 Ash Barty and star Naomi Osaka may be the favorites heading into the 2022 Australian Open, but a group of Americans could give the world’s top-ranked players a challenge. Among the next generation of American women’s tennis stars is a trio of players that could make a deep run in Melbourne.
Here’s who to watch for during the Australian Open:
Shelby Rogers is riding high heading into the Australian Open, with the American poised to play spoiler in Melbourne. Downing No. 6 Maria Sakkari in the season-opening Adelaide International Round of 16, Rogers was ultimately bounced in in the quarterfinals after a hard-fought three-set match against No. 13 Elena Rybakina. Rogers reached No. 36 in the world rankings on Jan. 10 following the Australian Open tune-up tournament, a career-high.
The 29-year-old’s best result at a Grand Slam came at the 2016 French Open and 2020 US Open, when Rogers made a quarterfinal run at both majors. Rogers tapped out in the Round of 16 in 2021’s Australian Open and will look to improve upon last year’s finish. Sitting in a favorable quarter of the bracket, Rogers is in a great position to make a name for herself in Melbourne.
Still just 17-years old, Coco Gauff is already being pencilled in as the next great American tennis star. The teen phenom, like Rogers, recently achieved a career-high ranking, claiming the No. 19 spot in September, where she currently sits heading into the Australian Open.
Gauff enters the Melbourne Grand Slam after an impressive performance at the Adelaide International event, taking World No. 1 Barty to three sets in the Round of 16. Also achieving a Round of 16 finish in 2020’s Australian Open, Gauff has proven success at Melbourne Park.
Gauff will face Qiang Wang in the first round of the Australian Open in a section of the draw that also includes Americans Sofia Kenin and Madison Keys.
Amanda Anisimova may still be a relative unknown to the casual observer, but the tennis world has been on notice since the 20-year-old’s French Open semifinal run in 2019. Peaking at a career-high ranking of No. 19 in 2019, Anisimova has recently fallen out of the world’s Top 50 to 61st in the standings. The American, however, is mounting a comeback, capturing January’s WTA 250 tune-up tournament in Melbourne.
The win marked Anisimova’s first title in three years and the second of her career. Teaming up with Darren Cahill as a potential new long-term coach, Anisimova looks to be in top form heading into the Australian Open.
The American sits in the same section of the draw as No. 22 seed Belinda Bencic and No. 13 seed Naomi Osaka, setting up a series of stiff opening matches — but also creating the opportunity for an upset.