His preparation for the primary main of the 12 months couldn’t have gone a lot better, suggesting that the drought of the mini grand slam for the best tennis participant ever is about to finish.
Williams overcame particular person opponents with completely different types, reached the doubles closing with one in all her finest buddies – the longer term retired Caroline Wozniacki – and most significantly, she ended a 5 sport shedding streak within the closing along with her daughter and husband Alexis. Ohanian wanting.
Eyes on the most important prize
Sure, nearly as good because it was to carry the winners' trophy in Auckland – the place Williams as soon as hit 88 unforced losses in Madison Brengle – he didn't make the lengthy journey to easily thrive in New Zealand. The a lot greater prize is the Australian Open, the place Williams triumphed early in being pregnant in 2017.
If Williams reaches the ultimate in Melbourne – and will must defeat the likes of double Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka and present No. 1 on the planet Ashleigh Barty on the best way – she is going to probably must defeat somebody with a stronger fame than the 66th categorized Pegula.
Serving to Williams, nonetheless, is that one of many fundamental contenders, Bianca Andreescu, will not be in Melbourne as a result of one other harm, this time in a single knee.
However profitable any finals – after losses within the Grand Slam finals towards Osaka, Andreescu, Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep and retiring towards Andreescu within the Rogers Cup closing final August – may probably be a turning level as Williams tries to succeed in the extent with the Grand Slam radius of Australian Margaret Courtroom.
"Serena, she definitely appears hungry, and I believe she acquired some momentum within the Australian Open," 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert advised reporters in an ESPN convention name. final week. "And it might in all probability be the slightest stress, this grand slam, to win for her.
"I believe each different event, the French Open, clay isn't its finest floor. Wimbledon is a whole lot of stress, the US Open is a whole lot of stress.
"This, the primary of the 12 months, is a & # 39; Glad Slam & # 39;", referring to the nickname of the Australian Open. "I believe if she takes some stress off herself and solely is aware of tips on how to play her tennis model, I believe she has a very good probability of profitable it.
"She's higher at grand slams than every other participant while you watch the previous two years."
In the best way Wozniacki mentioned it, Williams has a "nice probability" to match Courtroom.
"I’m very impressed along with her, who continues to play at this stage, being a mom and likewise a bit older than we’re," mentioned Halep, who made solely three unforced errors in Williams' killing. within the 2019 Wimbledon closing. "What he does is spectacular."
Challenges coming quickly
However Evert additionally burdened the stiffest challenges for Williams.
"There are some damned good gamers on the market that I’ve a whole lot of respect for, and the best way Osaka, Barty, Pliskova, Halep … there are usually not one or two threats to Serena, there are in all probability about eight threats, eight gamers that may in all probability do some injury and this will compete towards her.
"And one other factor is – I've at all times felt this manner – the older you get, the extra dangerous days you might need, days while you really feel exhausted, days while you don't need to get off the bed, days when you don’t have any incentives. you need to have that day throughout a grand slam, however typically you possibly can't keep away from it. "
Williams' 39-year-old sister Venus faces 15-year-old Gauff within the opening spherical of a grand slam, as soon as once more after the win that modified his life in Wimbledon. The battle between the oldest and the youngest participant within the draw is essentially the most compelling battle within the first spherical of the event.
Williams thinks he's nonetheless round in the direction of the top of the Australian Open, but when he's just like the final individual standing continues to be the query.