In life and in tennis we like to recognize some patterns and predict future based on current facts. Our stats analyst Omair made sure to present us the historical patterns of the Australian part of the season and the chances of an Australian Open tune-up tournament winner to lift the trophy at the Australian Open. You'll see that the Sydney winner is the most likely, which was the case this year with Victoria Azarenka.
A few days before the Australian Open I found some interesting things regarding the winners of the Australian Open warm-up events and their performance at the Australian Open that year. There are four warm-up events which pave the way for the players to get into some form for the first Grand Slam of the year:
Let's have a look at how well this year's winners performed at the Australian Open and how they compared to the winners of previous years and their performances at the Australian Open that year. Please note that for this article I used the results of Sydney and Auckland from 1988 onwards, since it was from 1988 that all the players played from the first round of the 128 player draw for the Grand Slam.
- Best Australian Open result in the respective year: quarterfinals
- 2012: Kaia Kanepi won Brisbane and lost in the second round of the Australian Open
The Brisbane tournament started way back in 1997, and was known as Gold Coast back then. The name of the tournament was changed in 2009 to the Brisbane International. This year the Brisbane event went Premier. The first ever winner of the tournament back in 1997 was Elena Likhovtseva who defeated Ai Sugiyama in the final. Elena Likhovtseva could not carry on the momentum to the Australian Open and lost in the first round, while Sugiyama lost in the second round of the Australian Open that year.
The best result a Brisbane winner so far had at the Australian Open was a quarterfinal showing. Three players achieved that feat. Venus Williams was the first Brisbane player to reach the Australian Open quarterfinal back in 2002 when she won the Brisbane event. Venus lost to 8th-seeded Monica Seles in three sets. Patty Schnyder in 2005 and Petra Kvitova in 2011 followed in the footsteps of Venus Willaims and went on to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open after winning the event in the respective years. Schnyder lost in three sets to 19th-seeded Nathalie Dechy, while Kvitova lost in straight sets to second-seeded Vera Zvonareva.
Kaia Kanepi won the Brisbane event this year. Based on the history of the Brisbane winners and their performance at the Australian Open, Kanepi's chances of making it out the second round were 67%.
Twice in the tournament's 15-year history has the Brisbane winner lost in the second round, Kanepi with her second round showing this year made it thrice in the 16-year history of the tournament. Many dubbed Kanepi as the dark horse for the Australian Open after her strong showing at the Brisbane event, however, Kanepi could not carry that momentum and fell victim of Ekaterina Makarova, who would go on to crush Serena Williams, five-time Australian Open champion, in the fourth round.
Brisbane winner has yet to move beyond the quarterfinal stage of the Australian Open, and with the event going Premier this year, this statistic will for sure change in the years to come. Although, I had hoped that this statistic will change this year since the field at Brisbane was very strong with the likes of Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams, Samantha Stosur.