Serena Williams continues the hunt for a first grand slam since her return after giving birth. She has made the final at both Wimbledon and the US Open but was outplayed on both occasions. She begins her tournament with a fairly straight forward matchup against Tatjana Maria.
The German has been a constant fixture in the WTA Top 100 but has failed to make further breakthroughs when it comes to the higher ranks. With just two career wins at the Australian Open, it has not been a productive tournament for the 31 year old. Maria is 1-3 this year with the sole win coming against a lowly ranked Australian wildcard.
For Serena, expectations remain high with the American placed as the favourite to win it all in the betting odds. It will be the first time she has taken to court in a slam since that infamous US Open final with many eyes focused on her on-court behaviour. She did not take in a competitive tournament as warmup for this event, rather playing the Hopman Cup – notable this time round for providing the first mixed matchup with her and Roger Federer on opposite sides.
It will be the first time that Williams and Maria have met and should prove not to be too difficult for the former champion. With a tough quarter ahead of her, she will need to get off to a quick start to ensure she isn’t caught out in later rounds.
Prediction – Serena Williams in straight sets