Australian Open 2019: Serena Williams faces tough path to win 24th major

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The Australian Open 2019 is the first Grand Slam of the year and a chance to see if your favourite players are performing at the highest level.

Kanepi, 33, is yet to progress beyond the third round of the Australian Open, though she has reached the quarter-finals twice at every other Grand Slam.

With her powerful groundstrokes and potent serve the quick Melbourne courts are likely to suit her style and American great Evert is looking forward to watching her progress as part of broadcaster ESPN's coverage team.

Combined with the pressure of becoming the first Japanese player to win a major, and the fanatical support that brings, there were fears she could wilt under the spotlight.

She last won a Major at the 2017 Australian Open when she was four weeks pregnant.

The 37-year-old, seeded third, is bidding to extend his all-time leading men's Grand Slam record to 21 title and would capture a 100th ATP tournament win in the process. She has a gentle opener against the unseeded German Tatjana Maria, but could play world No1 Simona Halep in the fourth round and is in the same half as Naomi Osaka, who beat her in the final of the US Open in September.

The 28-year-old Dane insists she can manage the debilitating auto-immune condition, which sometimes leaves her so exhausted she cannot raise her arms above her head.

Five women to watch at the Australian Open

The shock diagnosis came after Wozniacki had returned to number one and taken her WTA tour title tally to 30 with victories not only in Melbourne, but also Eastbourne and Beijing.

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. I feel at home here. "Maybe she has it even more now that she is a working mother", Evert said.

However, up-and-comer Naomi Osaka will be out to show that she's here to stay in Grand Slam play after winning her first major at the US Open previous year.

"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".

Serena Williams of the U.S. hits a backhand return during a training session in Melbourne on January 8, 2019, ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. Her experiences have been a learning experience for me.

"I always have insane big goals but I like to keep them to myself. She's the one that we need to watch I think for this year".

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