Posted on February 06 2021
After previewing the ATP stars looking to break through at the Australian Open, we look at the WTA youngsters hoping to make a big impact in the first Grand Slam of the year, which begins on Monday. The players are in Melbourne ready to compete and make their mark on 2021, so we are taking the opportunity to predict who could upset some of the world’s top players in Australia – and the rackets the players are using to do it.
Amanda Anisimova: Babolat Pure Drive
The 19-year-old American is the third youngest player in the WTA top 100, and looks set for a big year on the tour. Anisimova plays with the Babolat Pure Drive, a popular racket that combines explosive power with feel and balance. With a new HTR System ensuring improved stability and the SWX Pure Feel technology – an advanced vibration filtration system designed to improve feel and sound on ball impact – the Pure Drive is ideal for Anisimova’s all-round game. The young American has an extremely aggressive baseline game, particularly on the backhand side where she produces the majority of her winners. Anisimova has a flat forehand, something that the Pure Drive supports more than the Pure Aero, which generates more spin. With a semi-final appearance at Roland Garros already on her resume, Anisimova will be looking to start 2021 strongly at the Australian Open.
Cori Gauff: Head Graphene 360+ Speed MP
At only 16-years-old, Cori Gauff can only be described as a teenage sensation. The youngest player in the top 100, Gauff made a huge impact in 2019, defeating Venus Williams on the way to a fourth-round debut appearance at Wimbledon. Now ranked inside the world’s top 50 and posting consistent results, the American is poised to embark on her first full year on the WTA Tour. Gauff uses the Head Graphene 360+ Speed MP (see our in-depth review of the racket here), a versatile racket that enables Gauff to impose her dominant serve and all-court game. The youngster is an accomplished doubles player in addition to her singles success, which requires good feel and touch around the net – an area the Head Speed series excels in. With a full pre-season completed and plenty of rest time, Gauff should be raring to go at the Australian Open.
Image courtesy of Tennishead
Leylah Fernandez: Babolat Pure Aero
The 18-year-old Canadian made her Grand Slam debut at last year’s Australian Open after coming through qualifying. Fernandez will have happy memories of the event, as her run in Australia kickstarted her WTA adventure with good runs in Mexico and Monterrey shortly after – including a win over then world number five Belinda Bencic. The Canadian plays with the Babolat Pure Aero (see our full review here), a racket that aids her heavy topspin forehand and huge backhand. Fernandez is powerful and dominates opponents with her forehand, a common theme amongst Babolat Pure Aero users. After her momentum was stalled by Covid-19 in 2020, Fernandez will be confident of making a big statement at the Grand Slam where it all began.
Anastasia Potapova: Wilson Clash 98
Anastasia Potapova is not a household name yet, but may soon become one as she looks to better her impressive start to the 2020 season in 2021. Potapova, who uses the Wilson Clash 98, is ranked just outside the world’s top 100 but, at only 19-years-old, has the potential to cause some damage at the Australian Open. The Russian began 2020 by qualifying for the Australian Open before losing to Serena Williams, and then made back-to-back quarter-finals in Mexico – losing to Fernandez in the former. The youngster’s flat, heavy groundstrokes are ideally suited to the Wilson Clash 98, which is a heavy but extremely flexible racket. Potapova has a dangerous backhand and punchy game, with a big competitive spirit. Viewers will see much of the more Russian in future years, and possibly in the coming weeks.
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