The 2019 season begins in just one week and the women's tour will be loaded with young talents like Naomi Osaka and Aryna Sabalenka while aging veterans such as Caroline Wozniacki and Serena Williams try to maintain their dominance on the Tour for yet another year.
No. 1 -- Simona Halep: The 27-year-old Romanian isn't slated to play any warm up events prior to the Australian Open, as she completes her recovery from a back injury that sidelined her at the end of 2018. If she is feeling 100 percent, it's possible she could receive a wildcard into one of the warm up events, however. Halep will be defending finals points at the Australian Open, so she'll be hoping for a fully healthy event as she looks for her second major victory. In addition to last year's finals appearance and two quarterfinal appearances, Halep also has four first-round losses at the Australian Open across the past seven seasons.
No. 2 -- Angelique Kerber: The 2016 Australian Open champion will open her 2019 campaign at the Hopman Cup exhibition, where she will be teaming up with Alexander Zverev for Germany. The 30-year-old German was a semifinalist at the year's opening major last season, so a good result there is important for her to maintain the No. 2 ranking. Kerber reached at least the quarterfinals of three of the four majors last season, which included a title at Wimbledon.
No. 3 -- Caroline Wozniacki: Wozniacki was able to break through last season in Australia, as she captured her first major title in thrilling fashion over Simona Halep. The 28-year-old from Denmark struggled for chunks of the rest of the season, however, as she revealed she was bothered by rheumatoid arthritis. 2019 begins for Wozniacki in Auckland, where she'll be the heavy favorite and looking to build some confidence as she attempts to defend her Australian Open title.
No. 4 -- Elina Svitolina: Svitolina capped her 2018 in strong fashion, as she went undefeated en route to the title at the year-end event in Singapore. The 24-year-old Ukrainian has disappointingly never advanced past the quarterfinals of a major event, but it will be one of her main goals to change that this season, especially after last season's confidence-boosting conclusion. In 2018, she was dropped in the quarters of the Australian Open, and this season, she'll kick things off in Brisbane, which will feature a very strong field.
No. 5 -- Naomi Osaka: Osaka will be one of the most interesting players to watch in 2019, and her first tournament will come in Brisbane. The 21-year-old from Japan won just two titles in 2018, but they both came at big events, Miami and the US Open, and they both came in dominant fashion. Osaka is arguably the best player in the world when she's firing on all cylinders, and if she becomes a little more consistent, she could climb even higher in the rankings this season.
No. 6 -- Sloane Stephens: Slow starts to the season have been a theme for Stephens, as she has a dreadful streak of three straight first round losses at the Australian Open. The year's first major has not been kind to the 25-year-old American in general, as she has only advanced out of the fourth round once in her career, which came in 2013, when she reached the semifinals. 2018 was an inconsistent season for Stephens, but she is always dangerous, so it will be interesting to monitor her form early in 2019. Her first tournament of the year will come in Brisbane.
No. 7 -- Petra Kvitova: Kvitova will kick off her 2019 season in Brisbane, which features an incredibly strong field of seven players in the top 10. The 28-year-old from the Czech Republic plays good tennis on hard courts, but strangely enough, the Australian Open has been by far her worst major. Kvitova has gone just 14-9 at the year's first major across nine appearances, and she hasn't advanced past the third round since 2012, when she reached the semis.
No. 8 -- Karolina Pliskova: Pliskova played some good tennis at the end of 2018, which most notably featured a Tokyo title over Naomi Osaka, so she'll be looking to continue the momentum in 2019. The 26-year-old from the Czech Republic will open her season in Brisbane. Pliskova has been pretty good in Australia the last two seasons, with two consecutive quarterfinal appearances at the year's first major.
No. 9 -- Kiki Bertens: 2018 was a landmark season for Bertens, who started the season ranked No. 31 and ended it ranked inside the top 10. If 2018 was a sign of things to come, then 2019 could be very bright for the 27-year-old from the Netherlands. Bertens will open her season in Brisbane. She has never advanced past the third round of the Australian Open, and has just a 3-6 record at the event across her career.
No. 10 -- Daria Kasatkina: Along with Naomi Osaka, the 21-year-old Russian is one of the youngest players in the top 10, and she had her breakthrough last season at majors, as she picked up her first two major quarterfinal appearances, which came at the French Open and Wimbledon. Kasatkina hasn't been great at the Australian Open so far early in her career, as she hasn't ever advanced past the third round. She will open her 2019 season in Brisbane.
No. 13 -- Aryna Sabalenka: The 20-year-old from Belarus rocketed up the rankings in 2018, as she went from No. 73 at the start of the year to No. 13 at the end of the year. It's clear that Sabalenka is going to be a major factor on the tour for years to come, and 2019 is likely going to be a year of firsts for her. For starters, she doesn't have a win at the Australian Open, as she fell in the first round during her lone appearance in 2018. Sabalenka kicks things off in 2019 in Shenzhen, where she will be the favorite to take the title.
No. 16 -- Serena Williams: The 37-year-old American concluded her 2018 season after the awkward outburst and loss in the US Open final against Naomi Osaka, but she'll likely come into 2019 with positive thoughts since she won the Australian Open in 2017, the last time she played the event. The 2017 Australian Open also marks the last time she won a major. The 23-time major winner will open things in 2019 at the Hopman Cup, where she will team up with fellow American Frances Tiafoe.
No. 20 -- Wang: Wang was one of the hottest players on the WTA tour in the second half of 2018, as she reached four finals and captured two titles in the latter half of the year. The 26-year-old from China will open her 2019 campaign on home soil in Shenzhen. Wang has been awful at the Australian Open in her career so far, with a 1-4 record. If her form last season is any indication, however, she should be improving on that record this year.
No. 58 -- Dayana Yastremska: The 18-year-old Ukrainian burst onto the scene at the end of the 2018 season, as she captured her first title in Hong Kong in convincing fashion. The 2019 Australian Open will be just her second-ever major appearance, after she lost in the opening round of the US Open last season. Yastremska is slated to start her 2019 season in Brisbane, where she will likely have to go through qualifying to enter the main draw.
No. 96 -- Amanda Anisimova: Anisimova had the best result of her young career late in 2018, as she reached her first final in Hiroshima. The result showed the potential of the 17-year-old American, who is 0-2 in her career at majors. Anisimova will open her season in Auckland, and her outing at the Australian Open will mark her first-ever appearance at the event. It's worth monitoring how high the promising youngster climbs in the rankings this season.