We look at the Australian Open
Serena Williams will have to face Belinda Bencic in her first round match, while Novak Djokovic must face Fernando Verdasco.
In 2016, Williams and Bencic met twice and won one match each. Bencic is fresh off a great Hopman Cup run with Roger Federer, while Williams lost against Madison Brengle in Auckland last week in windy weather. Williams could also face Lucie Šafářová in her second round match, who she beat in three sets in the 2015 French Open final.
Meanwhile, Djokovic must face Fernando Verdasco, who had five match points against him a week ago at Doha before Djokovic came back to beat him. Last year at the Australian Open, Fernando Verdasco beat Rafael Nadal in the first round in a grueling, five-set match.
World number 1 Andy Murray also faces a tough draw, with Roger Federer, seeded no. 17 due to an injury layoff, as a potential fourth round opponent.
Djokovic has won the Australian Open six times and is considered the favorite. On the women’s side, big-serving Karolina Pliskova is a heavy favorite for the title after her successful run in Brisbane. Top seed and defending champion Angelique Kerber has been battling a lack of form.