Australian Open 2019: Fearless Aryna Sabalenka is title threat, says Chris Evert

11 January, 2019, 09:12 | Author: George Williams
  • Australian Open women to watch

"The fact that she could break the record for overall grand slams, that will overshadow everything at the end of the day".

Top-seeded Halep is without a coach after long-time Australian mentor Darren Cahill stepped down for family reasons, and described 2018 as "very emotional" but insisted it had made her mentally stronger.

"But being number one is something you should embrace and be proud of".

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.

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"She is unbelievably good with the volley -- in this more aggressive, more daring game". At the hotel I started shaking and they got me to hospital.

Men's top seed Djokovic, who was defending his title when he lost to Istomin, will first meet a qualifier in his bid for a record seventh Melbourne title and third Grand Slam crown in succession following wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

"I never feel pressure to perform".

Osaka, who turned pro at just 14-years-old, is the fourth seed at the 2019 Australian Open - which begins January 14 in Melbourne. After vocally expressing her discontent with the officiating and calling chair umpire Carlos Ramos a "liar" and a "thief", Williams was assessed a game-losing code violation in the third set, eventually falling to Osaka and triggering the rage of the crowd.

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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 past 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.

Defending champion Wozniacki, who broke through for her maiden Grand Slam title with victory over Halep in last year's final, is in line to face former victor Maria Sharapova in a mouth-watering third round showdown.

"There's no doubt that was a negative but there's no doubt that also a year ago when you look at the bigger picture, the fact that she came back from having a child she was really nowhere near 100 percent and she still made the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open was incredible".

Murray, a five-time finalist at Melbourne Park, spent most of previous year recuperating from hip surgery and looked rusty last week in Brisbane, but declared himself pain free.

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'After the final, we finished with the press around 10pm and they took me to doping control', said Halep at the Sydney International, where she starts her new season.

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