A return to the top of the national rankings is on offer for NSW’s Sharyn Renshaw when the $125,000 Australian Open commences tomorrow (14/2).
Fresh off claiming her second New Zealand Open singles title in November, Renshaw, who has risen to number two on the back of her most recent victory, last held the nation’s top spot in August of 2008, but that reign was short lived.
Having snatched the coveted honour from Australian teammate Kelsey Cottrell, Renshaw was immediately dethroned just 24 hours later as Karen Murphy went on to successfully defend her title.
With the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest and most lucrative tournament less than 24 hours away, Renshaw can reclaim the top spot with a victory at Shepparton this week.
Standing in her way, however, is a gluttony of stars, including Cottrell and Murphy, as well as world number two Alison Merrien (Guernsey) and world number four Siti Zalina Ahmad (Malaysia).
Renshaw will commence her singles campaign against Karen Goldsworthy on Monday morning, but before then, the 48-year-old will partner Therese Hastings against Western Australia’s Kerry Andersen and Noelene Abe in the women’s pairs tomorrow.
With her confidence riding high, Renshaw said she was looking forward to producing another strong performance.
“I’m feeling pretty confident with my singles form after beating Jan Khan (in the final of the New Zealand Open),” Renshaw said.
“I have put in a lot of practice since then, and although the field at the AO is always tough, I believe I have as good a chance as any competitor there.
“I just need to focus.”
A multi-discipline tournament, the Australian Open features singles, pairs and triples for both men and women, with the competition running from February 14 to 20 at the Shepparton Park and Mooroopna bowls clubs.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS