Australian Open 2018: five to watch in the women’s singles

With the women’s game in flux, there’s a chance for Elina Svitolina, Johanna Konta or Caroline Garcia to land a first slam, or for Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova to win another

Picking a favourite on the women’s side remains as thankless a task as ever, especially after Serena Williams’s withdrawal. Who could have predicted that Jelena Ostapenko or Sloane Stephens would win their first grand slam titles last year? Still, if form is anything to go by then Svitolina will regard this as a fine opportunity to break her duck. The improving world No4 impressed on her way to winning the Brisbane International last week and the Ukrainian’s first real challenge could be Stephens, fitness permitting, in the fourth round.

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