Level-headed Osaka thriving in Grand Slam spotlight

Adjust Comment Print

"When you have a target on your back it's not easy because everyone wants to play their best against you and beat you", she said.

The Serbian world number one and his Swiss opponent have won eight of the nine titles on the Rod Laver Arena since 2010, and 11 of the last 13 on the bright blue courts in central Melbourne.

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.

Regarding the controversial final against Osaka at Flushing Meadows - when she raged against umpire Carlos Ramos who imposed three code violations, the final one resulting in the loss of a game - Williams said she had put it put behind her and meant to "move on to bigger and better things".

Osaka suffered a straight-sets loss to Lesia Tsurenko in the semi-final of the Brisbane International and withdrew from the Sydney International in frustration.

"She is unbelievably good with the volley -- in this more aggressive, more daring game".

Williams is also playing in her first Australian Open since winning it in 2017.

"The fact that she dominated for so long and could break the record of Grand Slams I think that will overshadow everything at the end of the day", former world number one Evert, who will be part of ESPN's coverage of the Australian Open, told a conference call.

Providence hospitals taking precautions after uptick in flu cases
So far, the current vaccine appears to have worked well in that region and is performing better than last year's vaccine. Shots are still available at the White County Health Department (for $25, but if you have insurance it's usually free).

"The first time I came back here and hit on the courts, I thought, 'Okay, I'm home.' I feel like these courts are suited for me, so it's incredible to be back".

"I think she's fresh that's one thing, but everyone else is fresh too", said Evert. But I won't put pressure on myself.

Australia Open is slated to be held from January 14 to 27 in Melbourne, Australia.

While Evert thinks Serena is "raring to go" as she looks to equal Margaret Court's all-time Grand Slam title record of 24, she predicts strong challenges from the players who stopped the American reaching that tally previous year - Japan's Naomi Osaka, who beat Williams in the U.S. Open final, and Angelique Kerber who trounced her in the Wimbledon title match.

Serena received a code violation for coaching, a penalty point for racquet abuse and a game penalty for calling the umpire a "liar" and a "thief" during the US Open final.

He retired in the quarter-finals against Marin Cilic a year ago in Melbourne and suffered yet another knee injury that forced him out of the US Open semi-finals before ankle surgery in November.

Yet she appears to have put the emotional turmoil experienced in NY behind her and is revelling in her status as standard bearer for the next generation of women's players.

Comments