With Angelique Kerber now failing to defend her Australian Open title after a loss to Coco Vandeweghe, Serena Williams is in with a chance of taking back her World No.1 status by winning the tournament. She probably has the toughest route to the title, beginning with the in-form Johanna Konta. See their previous Head to Head matches.
The Brit has been on a tear to start the year and is in the midst of a nine match winning streak, where she has not dropped a single set. Most impressive of these was her 6-4 6-2 thrashing of Agnieszka Radwanska in the Sydney final while she dropped just 9 games in her last two matches – wins over Caroline Wozniacki and Ekaterina Makarova. It was at the Australian Open last year that she made her name, making the semi finals to move into the top 30 for the first time. Konta has been expected to fall down the rankings after a great 2016 but shows no signs of letting up as of yet. Backed by a good first serve and a very impressive second serve, her opponents have found breaks hard to come by with none of her opponents managing to break more than once this tournament.
I’m really looking forward to the challenge, and I’m looking forward to being on court, out on court with her and competing against her.” Konta said of Serena. It will be their first meeting and an intriguing clash with Konta in great form and Serena looking vulnerable in her last outing early on. Against an opponent that players are often almost mentally beat before stepping on court, there is no such situation for Konta.”I think it’s about playing, me going out there and doing what I want to do against her, and it will be about just staying focused on that. And if that brings me good things on that day, and if that puts me in a position to come through, then that’s great.” she said.
Serena served just 45% in her win againt Barbora Strycova and was broken four times in the 7-5 6-4 victory. A hard fought first set was ended by a mishit shot and Serena took charge from there, only faltering a little bit at the end as she served it out. The World No.2 had to beat two former top 10 players in Lucie Safarova and Belinda Bencic to begin the tournament, doing so in straight sets.
The Men’s draw has opened up to an extent that a Federer-Nadal final is a possibility but it is just as notable for the women that a throwback final is still possible in a match between Serena and Venus Williams. It would be a repeat of the 2003 final here if that were to happen, where Serena won in three sets.
Serena Williams in three sets