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History beckons as Serena shoots for Grand Slam history

10 January, 2019, 14:41 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Djokovic Federer Serena favourites for Aussie Open

The legacy of Serena Williams, who next week will compete in her first Grand Slam since her fiery clash with a US Open umpire, will not be harmed by the infamous feud that tarnished the NY final, American great Chris Evert said on Wednesday.

Amid unsavoury scenes, Osaka went on to win her maiden grand slam title.

Williams reached the finals at Wimbledon and in NY on what was her comeback year on the WTA Tour in 2018 following the birth of her first child.

The American was eight weeks pregnant when she won her 23rd title at Melbourne Park in 2017 and returned to action previous year where she reached finals at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Serb Djokovic could then play a rematch of his 2008 final triumph over Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round, with a possible quarter-final against Kei Nishikori to follow.

Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki enter the year's first Grand Slam as the reigning singles champions of the tournament.

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, who claimed her first major title by beating Halep in the final of the Australian Open a year ago, will start the defence of her title against Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium. She has a gentle opener against the unseeded German Tatjana Maria, but could play world No1 Simona Halep in the fourth round and is in the same half as Naomi Osaka, who beat her in the final of the US Open in September.

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Halep, however, may be reluctant to look beyond the first round, having drawn her U.S. Open nemesis Kaia Kanepi.

The Romanian could face Venus Williams in the third round and Serena Williams is a potential last-16 opponent for the top seed.

Defending champion Wozniacki, who broke through for her maiden Grand Slam title with victory over Halep in last year's final, is in line to face former victor Maria Sharapova in a mouth-watering third round showdown.

Unseeded Estonian Kanepi knocked Halep out of the first round at Flushing Meadows a year ago, making the Romanian the first top seed to lose at that tournament's earliest stage.

If US Open victor Naomi Osaka is feeling the pressure of being the tennis world's newest Grand Slam champion, she's hiding it well in the lead-up to the Australian Open. "I enjoy Grand Slams the most", she said before last week's Brisbane International.

"To finally get that (title) here was so special, it's the happy slam".

The 2016 victor Angelique Kerber, seeded two, begins her draw against Slovenia's Polona Hercog and could meet fifth seed Wozniacki in the semis.

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