Barty and Peers duel for Australia's top tennis honour
CAN doubles achievement be compared favourably with strong results in singles in modern tennis?
We will know tonight at the Newcombe Medal presentation what Tennis Australia's judges think when they decide between Australian Open doubles champion John Peers and the feel-good single success story Ash Barty for the country's premier award.
Peers won five ATP titles alongside Finnish doubles partner Henri Kontinen, including the Australian Open and the prestigious ATP Finals in London, reaching a career-high doubles ranking of No. 2 in April.
Barty, 21, went from No. 272 to No. 17 during 2017 to become Australia's top-ranked singles player, making three WTA finals and taking out her first tour singles crown, in Kuala Lumpur.
The Queenslander, looking to become the first female winner of the "Newk'' since Sam Stosur in 2012, achieved wins over 2017 Grand Slam champions Garbine Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko.
Australian No. 2 Daria Gavrilova said she expected Barty to take out the award, presented in Melbourne.
"She's had such a great year," said Gavrilova, who is one of the five nominees for a year in which she also won one WTA title and is ranked No. 25.
"At the beginning of the year when we were playing some practice sets, I was like, 'She's going to do some damage'. But obviously I did not expect her to end up being the No. 1 Aussie."
Australian Davis Cup players Nick Kyrgios and Jordan Thompson have also been nominated for the award.
Meanwhile, John Millman has risen to become the fourth-ranked Australian - and above Bernard Tomic as the top Queenslander - by winning the Vietnam challenger final last night.
Millman's gritty return from an injury hit 2017, gathered steam when his win over Victorian Andrew Whittington lifted him 37 places to No. 128, ahead of fellow Queenslanders Tomic (142) and Akira Santillan (145).
The Brisbane 28-year-old's strong finish to the year in challengers puts him in a good place for Tennis Australia summer wildcards and he is now the highest ranked Australian man who is not a direct entry for the Australian Open