History beckons as Serena shoots for Grand Slam history

History beckons as Serena shoots for Grand Slam history

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. "The women have to think she was 60-70 per cent previous year reaching when two finals".

To finally get that [major victory] here was very special - it's the Happy Slam, it's the first slam of the year, and it just made my year so much more enjoyable.

"But also there's no doubt previous year, when you look at bigger picture, she came back from having a child, really nowhere near one hundred per cent fit, and she still managed to make the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open, which was incredible".

On the women's side, all eyes will be on Serena Williams as she aims for Grand Slam number 24. He expects her to be in the title mix going forward.

Williams trails only Margaret Court in that category, and she came painfully close to tying her record a year ago in at Wimbledon and the US Open, losing in the final of both events to Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka, respectively.

"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 No.1 Evert told a conference call.

The American, seeded 16, is gunning to match Margaret Court's record of singles majors and claim an eighth Australian Open crown.

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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.

Amid unsavoury scenes, Osaka went on to win her maiden grand slam title.

Wozniacki, ranked three, started last season by winning her first Grand Slam in Melbourne and returning to world number one, but ended it in October with the bombshell announcement that she had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. But coming from Constanta [her home city], from nowhere, and becoming the best, is pretty huge for a Romanian, and for me as a person.

"I have no reason to believe that Sabalenka will not win more than one Grand Slam. Why?"

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.

Osaka, who turned pro at just 14-years-old, is the fourth seed at the 2019 Australian Open - which begins January 14 in Melbourne.

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