Last year's runner-up (Sean Baker - left) and winner (Ryan Bester - right).

2019 Australian Open: Men’s Singles Preview

by Domenic Favata

A look at the showpiece men’s singles event and who’s best placed to enjoy a golden run this Australian Open.

With a plethora of former winners, Commonwealth Games medalists and international stars scattered across the draw, this promises to be one of the most hotly contested competitions yet.

Read our form guide below:

Men’s Singles

Pick of the Aussies:

Ray Pearse – The New South Welshman is set to spearhead Australia at the 2019 Asia Pacific Championships following an incredible domestic singles record in recent times, leaving him well-placed to go deep in both this campaign and forthcoming Jackaroos duties.

Aron Sherriff – Known affectionately as ‘Omar’, Sherriff is a two-time Australian Open (AO) singles winner and on his day, is still one of the best bowlers in the world. Expect him to contend as he too gears up for a big Asia Pacific Championships campaign.

Lee Schraner – Having recently relocated back to Victoria following a successful stint in Tasmania, Schraner has been one of the most dominant bowlers in the country of late, including a strong singles record.

Pick of the Internationals:

Ryan Bester (Canada) – The Canadian, who happens to be the defending singles champion of this event, now calls Broadbeach home and enjoyed a stellar campaign in 2018. Commonly known for his aggressive style, Bester’s ability on the draw shot is often unheralded and he will no doubt be thereabouts again come the pointy end.

Gary Kelly (Northern Ireland) – The Northern Irish international has enjoyed a purple patch of form since relocating to Australia and the juggernaut that is the Warilla Bowling Club. A singles quarter-finalist at last year’s Commonwealth Games, Kelly was recently crowned World Cup champion for the first time and his attacking nature should suit the Gold Coast conditions.

Muhammad Rusli (Malaysia) – The Malaysian will lead his country in the singles come the Asia Pacific Championships and so joins a host of fellow countrymen and women who are using the AO to acclimatise to the conditions of the Gold Coast. Rusli was also a singles quarter-finalist at the recent Commonwealth Games.

One to Watch:

Jay Dawe – The 30-year-old Queenslander is certainly one to keep an eye on this AO. Having recently made his Australian Sides debut in the maroon colours, Dawe (Club Maroochy) was super impressive at last December’s Australian Championships despite failing to emerge from his section. From qualifying for the event by winning the Queensland state singles, to leading Ray Pearse 11-0 in his first sectional match only to lose 21-25, to going within a whisker of defeating South Australian Josh Studham, expect him to take confidence from both this event and his recent Sides debut into the AO in his home state.

Honourable mentions:

Aaron Wilson – Reigning Commonwealth Games singles gold medalist and former winner of the AO.

Aaron Teys  – Rising star of the sport and reigning Australian Indoors champion, having secured a spot as one of Australia’s five main men for the first time for the upcoming Asia Pacific Championships. Former winner of the AO.

Seamus Curtin – The 18-year-old was a surprise semi-finalist in last year’s event and should harness and improve on that experience. Whether that’s this year or still to come, time will tell. 

Sean Baker – Last year’s runner-up went within a whisker of upstaging Ryan Bester.

Our Prediction:

Ray Pearse – Marrying up the occasion and the familiarity with conditions, it’s hard to go past the Australian as the pick of the bunch as this year’s Australian Open men’s singles champion. The 34-year-old has recently been involved in a number of Jackaroos camps at Broadbeach which will hold him in good stead for this event, a chance for him to announce himself as the nation’s leading male singles performer on the big stage.