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Women’s draw preview: Serena Williams handed tricky path to 24th Grand Slam crown

The women’s draw for the 2019 Australian Open is just as enthralling as the men’s. Serena Williams is seeking a staggering eight title at the event as well as a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam crown, but her path to glory is unenvious. Meanwhile, top seed, Simona Halep faces her nemesis, Kaia Kanepi in the first round, while Caroline Wozniacki faces a daunting title-defense task.

Serena Williams, whose last Grand Slam triumph came at this event in 2017 whilst pregnant, will take on Tatjana Maria in the first round, and could meet either Genie Bouchard or Peng Shaui in the second. A possible fourth round blockbuster showdown with world No.1 Simona Halep is on the cards. Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina also lie in Williams’s half.

Halep, meanwhile, faces a difficult first round encounter against Kaia Kanepi, who beat her in the first round of the US Open in August last year. Should Halep exact revenge on the Estonian, then, she could go on to face Venus Williams in the third round before potentially meeting Serena in the fourth round. Landmines for the Romanian, those!

Second-seeded Angelique Kerber, who won the Australian and U.S. Opens in 2016 and added the Wimbledon title last year, is in the same half as Caroline Wozniacki and has 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens in her quarter.

Should Kerber get to the quarter-final, then Sloane Stephens, who faces her countrywoman, Taylor Townsend in her opening match, could be her opponent.

Defending champion, Wozniacki faces Alison Van Uytvanck and could meet 2008 champion, Maria Sharapova, who is up against a qualifier in her opening encounter, in the third round. Wozniacki also has two-time Grand Slam winner, Petra Kvitova in her quarter.

Fourth seed and U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka begins her quest for back-to-back Grand Slam titles against Polish outsider, Magda Linette.

The 2019 Australian Open is live from Melbourne Park from 14 — 27 January.

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