Serena Williams‘ road to history at the Australian Open is once again full of obstacles in the women’s singles draw.
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion attempting (for the seventh time) to tie Margaret Court‘s career record total, could play defending champion Naomi Osaka in the quarterfinals in Melbourne. No. 1 Ash Barty could be her semifinal opponent.
Williams is coming off her first tournament title in three years — since she won the 2017 Australian Open while eight weeks pregnant — to become the first player of either gender to win top-level titles in four different decades in the Open Era.
Williams’ quarter of the draw also includes a first-round matchup between older sister Venus Williams and 15-year-old sensation Coco Gauff, a rematch of their Wimbledon tilt. The Venus-Gauff winner could get Osaka in the third round and Serena in the quarters.
The bottom half of the draw includes No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova (yet to win a Slam), 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber and two-time major winner Simona Halep.
Maria Sharapova, the 2008 Australian Open champ, needed a wild card to get into the main draw. The Russian gets 19th seed Donna Vekic in the first round.
Canadian Bianca Andreescu, who beat Williams in the U.S. Open final, withdrew citing rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during her last match on Oct. 30.
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