A grand-slam champion potentially awaits in every round for Ashleigh Barty at the Brisbane International, with Australia’s world No.1 handed a tough draw for the season opener.
The top seed will enjoy a first-round bye for the event which starts on Monday.
However, Barty will quickly be put to the test when she hits the court with a potential second-round clash with five-time grand-slam champion, Russian wildcard Maria Sharapova.
If successful, Barty might face dual Wimbledon champion and great rival Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic or US Open victor Sloane Stephens in the quarter-finals.
Ashleigh Barty celebrates winning a point against Maria Sharapova at the 2019 Australian Open.
(Getty) A potential semi-final showdown with three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber looms.
And if Barty fights her way to the final, reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka might well be be waiting. Overall, five other grand-slam winners will feature in French Open champion Barty’s side of the draw in Brisbane.
Japan’s Osaka – who also claimed the 2018 US Open title – is the only major winner on the draw’s other side which also features defending champion and world No.2, Czech Karolina Pliskova.