Fantasy Tennis: Women's Hard Court Update
Fantasy Tennis: Women's Hard Court Update

The women's game continues to be difficult to predict, with no players inside the top 10 separating themselves from the rest of the pack. Ashleigh Barty has been the best player this year, Simona Halep won the latest major, Naomi Osaka is the streakiest yet possibly most talented and Serena Williams is potentially the greatest player ever. Because of all that, the year's final major is wide open. Here's a look at some of the favorites with the summer hard-court season currently in full swing.

Top Contenders

Simona Halep

After claiming her second major title at Wimbledon in dominant fashion, Halep's confidence level should be as high as ever as she suits up for the summer hard-court swing. She's been solid on hard courts this year so far, with a 14-6 record. She'll be one of several players with a legit shot at the US Open title this year as no woman has separated herself at the top. Her best-ever result at the year's final major came in 2015, when she reached the semifinals. Halep enters this year's Rogers Cup as the No. 4 seed and defending champion, after she claimed the title last season in a three-set win over Sloane Stephens.

Ashleigh Barty

The top seed in Canada this season comes into the event with an excellent 16-3 record on the surface in 2019. Barty has been the best and most consistent player on the women's tour in 2019, and hence the No. 1 ranking. Prior to her fourth-round loss at Wimbledon, the 23-year-old Australian had been on a blistering 15-match winning streak. Barty fell in the semifinals during the Rogers Cup in 2018, and lost in the Round of 16 at the US Open, but she's been a different player this year.

Naomi Osaka

Osaka enters this year's Rogers Cup with three losses in her last four matches, which includes a Round 1 loss at Wimbledon. The 21-year-old from Japan still finds herself at No. 2 in the world, but she has struggled a bit since winning back-to-back majors at the US Open in 2018 and the Australian Open earlier this year. It's plausible that Osaka could roll to another big title this week in Toronto, but it's also plausible that she could lose in her opening match.

Serena Williams

Coming off her best result of the season, in which she fell in the Wimbledon final, Williams still hasn't quite been able to summon the form that won her 23 major titles. The 37-year-old American is without a Grand Slam title since 2017, and she's only been to the quarterfinals of an event twice this season, at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Williams is still clearly capable of winning another big title, as she's been close on numerous occasions. A title ahead of the US Open would certainly give her a big boost of confidence. She's the No. 8 seed in Toronto.

Outside Contenders

Kiki Bertens

Bertens, who enters Toronto as the No. 5 seed, has been racking up wins this season at a high rate. Despite not closing out some recent tournament as well as she might like, the 27-year-old has still been incredibly consistent at picking up at least a few wins in every event she enters. She'll be expected to do the same in Toronto, although her draw looks fairly challenging. Bertens has not been at her best at hard court major events, as she has never advanced past the third round at either the US Open or Australian Open.

Bianca Andreescu

After an incredible breakthrough run in which she claimed the title earlier this year in Indian Wells, Andreescu has been plagued by a right shoulder injury, which has sidelined her since the French Open. The 19-year-old Canadian will be a home favorite in Toronto, and if she's regained her health, she could be a big threat to the top players during the summer hard-court swing. If Andreescu wins her Toronto opener against countrywoman Eugenie Bouchard, she could face No. 12 seed Angelique Kerber in Round 2, who she was able to defeat in her Indian Wells title run. Andreescu is 18-4 on hard courts this year, but she figures to be a little rusty in her return.

Karolina Pliskova

Other than No. 1-ranked Ashleigh Barty, Pliskova, the No. 3 seed in Toronto, has been the most consistent player in the women's game in 2019, as she already has three titles on the year. She boasts a great 20-4 record this season on hard courts, meaning she's a major threat for a deep run in Toronto and each of the remaining summer hard-court events. Her best Grand Slam result came at the US Open in 2016 when she reached the final.

Belinda Bencic

Bencic, a winner of the Rogers Cup back in 2015 when she was just 18 years old, has been having a comeback season in 2019. She started the year ranked outside the top 50, but has climbed to near the top 10. Her season was highlighted by a title on hard courts in Dubai when she knocked off four top 10 opponents en route to the trophy. She has a strong 16-4 record in 2019 on hard courts, and her best Grand Slam result came at the US Open when she reached the quarterfinals in 2014. The 22-year-old from Switzerland is one to watch this summer.

Aryna Sabalenka

After a runner-up finish in San Jose, Sabalenka looks to be hitting her stride after a bit of a slump saw her go cold throughout a large chunk of the year. The 21-year-old from Belarus hasn't been past the third round of a major this season, and her best major result came at the US Open in 2018 when she reached Round 4. Sabalenka is one of the best young prospects in the women's game, and it's likely only a matter of time until she puts it all together and makes a deep run at a Grand Slam event.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zak Patterson
Zak joined RotoWire in 2016 covering NBA games. Now, he focuses on recapping and analyzing daily ATP and WTA tennis matches, and providing perspective on the state of the men's and women's game.
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