Leading Australian Open women's contenders

Ashleigh Barty is Australia's first women's top seed at the Open in 43 years.
Ashleigh Barty is Australia's first women's top seed at the Open in 43 years.

LEADING WOMEN'S CONTENDERS AND TOP LOCAL AUSTRALIAN OPEN HOPES:

ASHLEIGH BARTY

Age: 23

Ranking: 1

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US16,706,617

Career titles: 8

Grand slam titles: 1 (French Open 2019)

Australian Open win-loss record: 8-6

Best Australian Open result: quarter-finals 2019

After rebounding from a shock season-opening loss in Brisbane to win the title in Adelaide, Australia's first women's top seed at the Open in 43 years has an inviting first-week draw before it could get rough.

KAROLINA PLISKOVA (CZE)

Age: 27

Ranking: 2

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US19,784,968

Career titles: 16

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 18-7

Best Australian Open result: semi-finalist 2019

The big-serving Czech enjoyed her best-ever run in Melbourne last year and completed the perfect build-up for another serious tilt with a third title in Brisbane in her 2020 season opener, taking out the reigning Open champion along the way.

NAOMI OSAKA (JPN)

Age: 22

Ranking: 3

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US14,492,529

Career titles: 5

Grand slam titles: 2 (US Open 2018; Australian Open 2019)

Australian Open win-loss record: 13-3

Best Australian Open result: champion 2019

The Open titleholder withdrew from the season-ending WTA Finals with a shoulder problem but didn't appear troubled during her run to the semi-finals in Brisbane. Huge threat and already has two hardcourt majors under her belt.

SIMONA HALEP (ROM)

Age: 28

Ranking: 4

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US35,108,021

Career titles: 19

Grand slam titles: 2 (French Open 2018; Wimbledon 2019)

Australian Open win-loss record: 19-9

Best Australian Open result: finalist 2018

The Romanian went painfully close to winning the title two years ago and returns with the monkey off her back after overdue grand slam breakthroughs at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Also has Aussie super-coach Darren Cahill back in her corner.

ELINA SVITOLINA (UKR)

Age: 25

Ranking: 5

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US19,246,960

Career titles: 13

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 15-7

Best Australian Open results: quarter-finalist 2018, 2019

The Ukrainian continues to knock on the door, making the semi-finals at the past two slams after consecutive appearances in the last eight in Melbourne. Seems only a matter of time before women's tennis's 18th highest all-time money earner lands a major.

SERENA WILLIAMS (USA)

Age: 38

Ranking: 9

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US92,590,416

Career titles: 73

Grand slam titles: 23 (Australian Open 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009,

2010, 2015, 2017; French Open 2002, 2013, 2015; Wimbledon 2002, 2003,

2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016; US Open 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013,

2014)

Australian Open win-loss record: 85-11

Best Australian Open results: champion 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009,

2010, 2015, 2017; runner-up 2016

Lost her past four slam finals in ongoing pursuit to match Margaret Court's all-time-record 24 singles majors but ominously broke her three-year title drought with victory in Auckland in her season opener, the American's first crown since winning the 2017 Open while pregnant.

BEST OUTSIDER

SOFIA KENIN (USA)

Age: 21

Ranking: 15

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US2,940,782

Career titles: 3

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 1-2

Best Australian Open result: second round 2019

The American enjoyed a breakout 2019 season, picking up three titles including her maiden WTA trophy in Hobart, and soared to within striking distance of the top 10, falling to Barty in the fourth round in Paris in her best effort yet at a major.

BEST OTHER AUSTRALIAN HOPES

AJLA TOMLJANOVIC

Age: 26

Ranking: 52

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US2,901,142

Career titles: 0

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 3-5

Best Australian Open results: second round 2014, 2015

The 26-year-old has emerged as Australia's clear No.2 after an eye-catching Fed Cup debut in last year's final against France. Pushed world No.2 Pliskova to three sets in a promising start to the year in Brisbane.

SAMANTHA STOSUR

Age: 35

Ranking: 96

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US18,930,476

Career titles: 9

Grand slam titles: 1 (US Open 2011)

Australian Open win-loss record: 18-17

Best Australian Open result: fourth round 2006, 2010

Victory over former Open champion and world No.1 Angelique Kerber in Brisbane showed there's still fight in the veteran. Has turned to ex-doubles partner Rennae Stubbs in a bid to spark an Indian summer.

Australian Associated Press