Predicted Winners in BOLD
Hsieh Su-Wei vs Naomi Osaka (3) – I have gotten so many of Hsieh Su-Wei’s matches wrong over the years that this is probably a good omen for her. Still, Osaka is to my mind the best in the world because she attacks as well as power players and defends as well as counter-punchers. She has more paths to victory than anyone on tour on a hard court. If/when she figures clay and grass out better, watch out.
Serena Williams (10) vs Simona Halep (2) – This pick may go over like a led balloon, but I think for Serena Williams to win this event she will have to pull 2 or 3 upsets. Historically she is in another galaxy from anyone left in the draw, but Halep, Osaka, and Barty all get better than 50-50 odds vs. Serena in 2021. I think The faster surface should help Serena in theory, but Serena should be able to hold serve on a slow hard court. If the faster than usual Australian Open surface actually helps Halep hold … I see Halep winning in 3 sets unless Serena dictates play in an airtight manner.