Held the week after the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, the Australian Open, concludes, it would have seemed unlikely for the tournament to attract many star names, though that has proven to not be the case with world number one Simona Halep, WTA Finals champion Caroline Wozniacki, and French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko amongst those all set to be in action.
Furthermore, joining Mladenovic will be former doubles partner and fellow Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, whilst the resurgent Julia Goerges and home player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova are also set to be in action. The tournament will take place on the week beginning January 29th, with 470 points available for the winner.
Mladenovic faces tough test as she attempts to defend title
Though Mladenovic struggled in the second half of 2017, her first half of the season was incredibly successful and was capped off by her victory in St. Petersburg. The Frenchwoman beat the likes of Roberta Vinci and Yulia Putintseva last year, though may face a tougher challenge this time around.
Arguably the biggest name in the draw is that of Halep, who finished this season as the number one player in the world. The Romanian played last year, withdrawing in the last eight, though her entrance is fairly surprising considering how soon it is after the Australian Open. The same could be said for both Wozniacki, Ostapenko, and Garcia as well, especially considering the two will also be amongst the top seeds in Melbourne.
Also in action will be Goerges, who ended last season in stellar fashion, whilst the home charge will be lead by Pavlyuchenkova, who will be joined by fellow Russians Daria Kasatkina and Ekaterina Makarova in St. Petersburg. Furthermore, former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova and two-time French Open semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky are also amongst those set to be in action.
Furthermore, both Anastasija Sevastova and Barbora Strycova, arguably title contenders, are set to play, with rising star Elise Mertens and the resurgent Sorana Cirstea also on the entry list. Former French Open semifinalist Kiki Bertens and Grand Slam quarterfinalist Carla Suarez Navarro will also take part, with Alize Cornet, Irina-Camelia Begu, and Ana Konjuh rounding off the entry list.