Serena Williams’ 2016 campaign got off to an inauspicious start earlier this month at the Hopman Cup. In the team competition held in Perth, Williams could not take the court for the United States’ first match against Ukraine due to inflammation in her left knee. The world No. 1 tried to give it a go two days later against Australia, but she ended up retiring in the second set of her singles contest. Check out the Williams vs Giorgi Head to Head.
“It’s not even a bump,” Williams explained, “just a really minor thing in the road. I’ll fly over it. I just have some inflammation that’s been going away very slowly. It’s going away, but it needs a little more time. Mainly I was afraid to move, and I need to get in the space where I’m not afraid to move.”
Of course, injuries for Williams at smaller, less important tournaments are nothing out of the ordinary and are generally not cause for any concern. She has a well-documented history of devoting less attention to and focus on events that are not of the premier or Grand Slam variety. When slams roll around, Williams is almost always 100 percent in both the mental and physical departments.
So when she starts her upcoming fortnight at the Australian Open, the 21-time major champion should be ready to go. Williams is a six-time winner Down Under and she ended a four-year drought in Melbourne by lifting the trophy last January. She won three of last year’s four majors, coming within two victories of the calendar-year Grand Slam (lost to Roberta Vinci in the U.S. Open semifinals).
Up first for Williams on Monday is a third career meeting with Camila Giorgia. The head-to-head series stands at 2-0 in favor of the American, who owns a pair of straight-set defeats of the Italian. Both have come on clay–first at the 2013 Charleston event and most recently last season during Fed Cup action. Giorgi just barely missed out on a seed at No. 36 in the rankings and the result is a worst possible draw. She is a modest 3-3 lifetime in Melbourne after reaching the third round last year (lost to Venus Williams). This is not the easiest of openers for Williams, but the top seed should cruise.
Prediction: Williams in straight sets
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