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Posted By Jack Langdon  
12:00 PM

The WTA will have three events in the lead up to the Australian Open at Melbourne Park. Both The Gippsland Trophy and Yarra Valley Classic (the original two events) will host 54 singles players and 28 doubles teams respectively. The third event – The Grampians Trophy will provide an even playing field for the players unable to train in quarantine. The Grampians Trophy will have 28 players vying for the title. 

“This revised schedule comprised of three WTA 500 events in the week leading into the upcoming Australian Open will allow for our athletes coming out of the respected quarantine period to properly focus on their preparation in a return to competition,” WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement on the WTA website. 

The Gippsland Trophy, as well as the Yarra Valley Classic, begins on Sunday. The Grampians Trophy commences on Wednesday.  

Between the three tournaments, 45 of the world’s top 50 will be competing.   

Draws for the The Yarra Valley Classic and The Gippsland Trophy were released on Friday. The top ten seeds for each tournament will have a bye the first round.  

World No. 1, Ash Barty, will make her long-awaited return to official match play. Barty did have a hit out at ‘A Day at the Drive,’ but this will mark her first competitive match since COVID-19 hit. “It's been a long pre-season and I've probably grown a little impatient the last three or four weeks about wanting to start and wanting to compete again,” Barty told the WTA website. 

Barty faces extreme competition at The Yarra Valley Classic. Her potential opponents include 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, World No.4 and defending Australian Open Champion Sofia Kenin and World No.6 Karolina Pliskova. 

Wildcard Daria Gavrilova could set up a clash with fifth seed Serena Williams in the second round. Sam Stosur will face 16th seed, Marie Bouzkova, in the first round. Aussie young gun Maddison Inglis will be up against Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson. Ash Barty will face either Ana Bogdan or Kamilla Rakihmova in the second round.  

The Gippsland Trophy will feature World No. 2 Simona Halep, World No. 3 Namoi Oaska and World No. 5 Elina Svitolina.  

Australian Destanee Aiava could set up a potential second round match with first seed Simona Halep. Alja Tomljanovic could face Namoi Oaska in the second round if she prevails over France’s Alize Cornet. Astra Sharma will be up against Kaia Kanepi in the first round. Arina Rodionova has drawn a challenging first round match in Caroline Garcia. Olivia Gadecki will line up against American Bernarda Pera. 

The Grampians Trophy was made for those in hard quarantine, and will be led by former Australian Open Champions Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber. World No. 7 Bianca Andreescu and World No. 12 Belinda Bencic will make up the top two seeds of the tournament. 

"This will be an historic week of tennis and is the biggest-ever AO lead-in week we have seen in Australia," said Tennis Australia Head of Major Events, Cameron Pearson.  Draws and entry lists can be found below.