Federer to launch Australian Open defence against Istomin

11 January, 2019, 09:09 | Author: Judy Cobb
  • Five women to watch at the Australian Open

All eyes were on Serena Williams, who won the Australian Open when seven weeks pregnant in 2017 and needs one more major to draw alongside Margaret Court at the top of the all-time list on 24, as the women's draw was made on Thursday.

"I think that there will be a side note that Serena has a lot of passion and has at times lost her cool on the court, I don't for one minute think it will tarnish her whole reputation or her record".

Williams, who is seeded 16 for the tournament in Melbourne after reaching the past two grand slam finals, will play her first tour match since the defeat by Osaka when she takes on Maria on Tuesday having prepared for the Australian Open with three successive singles victories in the Hopman Cup.

With her powerful groundstrokes and potent serve the quick Melbourne courts are likely to suit her style and American great Evert is looking forward to watching her progress as part of broadcaster ESPN's coverage team.

The world No. 1 suffered a shocking straight-sets loss to the experienced Kanepi in the opening round of the U.S. Open in August.

She warmed up for Melbourne by making the semi-finals of the Brisbane International last week, where she blamed a poor attitude for losing to Lesia Tsurenko. I feel at home here. "I think keeping them a bit of a secret helps me do the best I can".

While she is the leading light for the next generation, the world No. 4's status as second favourite points to a lack of serious rivals for Williams among the more established players.

Men's top seed Djokovic, who was defending his title when he lost to Istomin, will first meet a qualifier in his bid for a record seventh Melbourne title and third Grand Slam crown in succession following wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Wozniacki, 28, says the debilitating auto-immune condition is so bad that on some days "I wake up and can't lift my hands over my head". The Belarussian surged up the WTA rankings a year ago, winning her first two titles and ending it just outside the top 10 and arrived in Melbourne fresh from winning in Shenzhen.

Halep, who is without a coach since Australian Darren Cahill left for family reasons, will expect her back to hold up after a herniated disk curtailed her 2018 season.

Second-ranked Angelique Kerber has already indicated her priority for 2019 will be the French Open, the only Slam to elude the 30-year-old German in her career.

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