The 2012 Australian Open Women’s singles main draw is made up of 108 direct acceptances, 12 qualifiers and 8 wild cards. The women’s draw differs from the men’s as there are four additional direct acceptances, which means there are four less spots available to qualifiers. In this post OnCourt Advantage will explain how these wild cards are awarded plus keep you up-to-date with who receives the women’s wild cards into the women’s singles draw for the 2012 Australian Open.
The eight wild cards are distributed in the following way: two are reciprocal of which one each is determined at the discretion of the French Tennis Federation (*FFT) and the other is awarded to the winner of the American women-only wild card play-off winner run by the United States Tennis Association. Tennis Australia (TA) awards one as an Asian wild card as a symbol of being the Grand Slam of Asia Pacific, one to the winner of the Australian women-only play-off plus a further four at it’s discretion.
*FFT stands for Federation Francaise de Tennis or in English, the French Tennis Federation.
Reciprocal Wild Cards:
Three of the four Grand Slam tournaments have arranged a 3-way reciprocal arrangement whereby they all allocate a wild card to each other to use at their discretion. This means that all three of TA, FFT and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) set aside two Wild Cards for their home Grand Slam in order to acquire two Wild Cards for their own use at these two other Grand Slam tournaments.
In 2011 the Australians allocated both of their wild cards to Casey DELLACQUA for Roland Garros and the US Open. Dellacqua will need a wild card into the 2012 Australian Open because her current ranking is No.133. The 26-year-old left hander will be a sure bet to receive one of the discretionary wild cards after already being chosen by TA above all other Australian women with the past two wild cards. The 1.65m Dellacqua achieved her best Grand Slam singles result to date by making the last 16 at the 2008 Australian Open and career-high ranking of No.39 on 28 July 2008.
Three and most likely four Australian women will be direct acceptances by being ranked amongst the Top 109 in the world at the Monday 5 December 2011 entry ranking cut-off date. Samantha STOSUR at No.6, Jarmila GAJDOZSOVA No.33 and Jelena DOKIC No.67 are in, whereas Anastasia RODIONOVA at No.109 is just one spot outside the cut-off so only needs for one player to be injured (which you can almost guarantee), to become the 108th highest ranked player entered.
The USTA holds an 8-player knockout draw play-off with the winner of the Women’s Singles Final earning the USTA’s wild card into the Australian Open. The eight players are chosen by the USTA and are not selected according to rankings. Lauren DAVIS won the USTA play-off in December 2010 by defeating Coco Vandeweghe 6-2, 6-2 in the women’s singles final. The 18-year-old Davis but will need a wild card again as she is now ranked No.318. There are seven American women who are direct acceptances into the main draw, including Serena and Venus WILLIAMS.
TA also holds a knockout play-off with the winner of the Women’s Singles Final earning a wild card into the Australian Open. There are 16 players in the play-off divided into four groups with four players in each group. The groups all play a round robin where each of player plays a match against the three other women in her group. The winner of each of the four groups earns a place in the knockout semi finals, from where two finalists emerge and the battle in the final for the coveted wild card.
Olivia ROGOWSKA won the 2011 Australian women-only play-off by defeating former World No.4 Jelena Dokic in the final. The 20-year-old Victorian was the runner-up to Casey Dellacqua in the 2009 wild card play-off. The 1.75m Rogowska is the No.2 seed this year, won all three of her round robin matches in the Magenta Group in straight sets and her semi final 6-4, 7-5 to play in her third straight Australian Open wild card play-off final on Sunday 11 December.
Pictured above is 15-year-old Ashleigh BARTY after making contact with the ball for this double-handed backhand drive during the 2011 Junior US Open championships. The current World No.3 ITF Junior is now ranked at No.681 on the WTA women’s tour. The unseeded Barty won the Blue Group by knocking out No.1 seed Casey Dellacqua 6-3, 6-3 and also won all four matches in straight sets.
Barty won the 2011 Girl’s Junior Wimbledon singles final by defeating ITF Junior Girl’s World No.1 Irina Khromacheva 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) in the final. Barty made the 2011 Girl’s Junior US Open semi finals before being defeated by Caroline Garcia who is currently No.147 on the WTA women’s tour. After such impressive results in both juniors this year and at Melbourne Park this week Barty also seems a sure bet to be awarded a wild card even if she loses the women’s final today.
Discretionary Wild Cards:
As soon as each of the wild cards are selected at the discretion of TA OnCourt Advantage will added their names to the list below. All of the main draw wild cards will be determined on or before Wednesday 13 January at the latest because that is the day that the women’s qualifying singles event is drawn. The women’s qualifying singles event has 32 players less than the men’s qualifying for a total of 96, so commences one day after the men’s qualifying begins.
In order of when they were announced the 8 wild cards for the 2012 Australian Open Women’s singles main draw tournament are:
- Ashleigh BARTY – Australians-only wild card play-off singles champion on 11 December 2011
- Casey DELLACQUA – TA discretionary WC on 14 December 2011
- Madison KEYS – US Open or USTA Reciprocal Wild Card on 19 December 2011
- Olivia ROGOWSKA – TA discretionary WC on 20 December 2011
- Aravane REZAI – Roland Garros or FFT Reciprocal Wild Card
- ZHANG Shuai – Asian wild card – on 6 January 2012
- ? – TA discretionary WC
- ? – TA discretionary WC
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photo credit: Robbie Mendelson