Simona Halep faces wild card in Australian Open first round

Reuters

This tournament marks the 106th edition of all time, 50th edition in the Open Era, and the 200th overall Grand Slam event of the Open Era. Venus Williams will be 38 in June but was a runner-up at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon previous year.

Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki spearhead the charge to succeed Serena Williams at an Australian Open left wide open by the withdrawal of the defending champion and new mum.

"I have one more goal: to win a grand slam".

But she said she was not looking past her first-round opponent - Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava.

Indeed, any number of women could be holding the trophy at Melbourne Park in two weeks. But 2018 could be different. With Serena Williams on maternity leave for most of 2017, the 26-year-old Halep had her best chance for a breakthrough at the majors but ended the year empty-handed again, with a second French Open final defeat after another near miss in 2014. "When her forehand is operating well, she has got one of the best two-handed backhands, she's a great retriever, her serve has improved enough to give her some free points". The no-nonsense Romanian, however, dismissed a suggestion that she might start her own clothing line like Serena's older sister Venus Williams. She reeled off wins over Svitolina, Halep and Pliskova in Singapore, rising from 19th to second in the world in 12 months. Her biggest weapon is her serve - she was the ace leader on the WTA Tour past year, powering down 452 first service winners in 69 matches. Although at her best on clay, Halep is well capable of winning the biggest tournaments on hard courts.

"Whenever I get asked that question, it always comes across in really kind of an nearly negative way instead of acknowledging how many great players we have", Johanna Konta, who reached the semifinals of Wimbledon past year, said in her pre-tournament news conference Saturday. She swept aside a quality field in Brisbane last week with victories over Johanna Konta and Pliskova en route to the title and a world ranking of four. Nothing changes that I'm number one or number two or number three. The 25-year-old rose to world number one in July last year following victories in Brisbane, Doha and Eastbourne, but fell to the crown of thorns that the top-rank was.

Venus last won a Slam in 2008 but she enjoyed a renaissance a year ago when she reached two Grand Slam finals and returned to the world top five. Ostapenko, now 20, rocketed up the rankings after her stunning win at the French Open.

The Australian-born Briton became one of the stories of Melbourne Park in 2016 after beating Venus in the first round and reaching the semis, where she lost to eventual champion Angelique Kerber.

Wozniacki is riding high after her resurgence in 2017 when she reached eight finals, with victories in Tokyo in September and at the season-ending Tour Championship.

Konta also won Miami and reached last year's Wimbledon semis but she then endured a slump in form with niggling injuries and dropped from a career-high fourth in the world to her current ninth.

Related News:

  • Jose Mourinho: 'Romelu Lukaku to return in a week'

    Jose Mourinho: 'Romelu Lukaku to return in a week'

    Liverpool 's third successive win extended their unbeaten league run to 13 games as they cemented their place in the top four. But he starred for United on New Years Day, as he captained his side to a brilliant victory at Goodison Park.
    China warns of USA  protectionism after Huawei setback

    China warns of USA protectionism after Huawei setback

    The Chinese electronics manufacturer is one of the leading companies in the world that is dominating the smartphone-making scene. Huawei said it would sell the Mate 10 Pro in the United States unlocked, meaning it won't be attached to any particular carrier.
    Wow, Looks Like Mark Wahlberg is a Pretty Slippery Snake

    Wow, Looks Like Mark Wahlberg is a Pretty Slippery Snake

    But the new USA Today story debunks both of those claims, reporting that both actors had reshoots included their contracts. Neither reps for the actors involved, WME nor Wahlberg's lawyer have commented as of yet.
  • Belichick moves on from rumored team drama: 'I'm all in on Tennessee'

    Belichick moves on from rumored team drama: 'I'm all in on Tennessee'

    Since he arrived at Alabama in 2007, his teams have won an unprecedented five national championships in the past nine seasons. As outlined by ESPN, Kraft demanded a trade of Garoppolo to appease Brady. "I am telling you, it's fiction".
    Reflections: Martin Luther King ceremony is Sunday at City Hall

    Reflections: Martin Luther King ceremony is Sunday at City Hall

    Participants in the Lexington Martin Luther King Day parade march downtown on Monday, January 18, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Friday at Faith Tabernacle Church at 15 Nelson St., and the second one at noon Saturday, also in the church.
    Kylie Jenner is Allegedly in Labor

    Kylie Jenner is Allegedly in Labor

    And that won't be changing no matter how big the financial offers are to have her spill her pregnancy. She has also bought a lot of things herself. "She wants to keep this one aspect of her life private".
  • Swatting suspect scheduled to make first court appearance today

    Swatting suspect scheduled to make first court appearance today

    He then gave them an address for 28-year-old Andrew Finch, who was shot and killed by an officer when he answered the door. Barriss has also been linked to swatting incidents in IL and New Hampshire, according to court records.
    Great Britain set record medal target for Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang 2018

    Great Britain set record medal target for Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang 2018

    And UK Sport wants a return, but recognises the fine margins involved in disciplines like short-track speed-skating. UK Sport has forecast 6-12 medals at the Winter Paralympics, which follows in March.
    China's trade with North Korea tumbles over United Nations  sanctions

    China's trade with North Korea tumbles over United Nations sanctions

    He also said China and Russian Federation , which have not been invited, will be briefed on the discussions after the meeting. But there was a desire on the Canadian side to invite the Chinese to Vancouver for side meetings.
  • Kentucky Is First To Get Federal OK For Medicaid Work Requirement

    Kentucky Is First To Get Federal OK For Medicaid Work Requirement

    The new rule, to be rolled out in July, would mandate able-bodied Kentuckians on Medicaid to work or volunteer 20 hours per week. Before Verma joined CMS she was a private consultant and an architect of the Kentucky plan that was approved Friday.
    Up to 43 people still missing after California mudslides; dead identified

    Up to 43 people still missing after California mudslides; dead identified

    Asher returned with a pickax and five friends, and trudged through the debris to salvage any possessions he could find. Southern California authorities have corrected the number of people missing since the Montecito mudslides to eight.
    Stock On the Run: Brandywine Realty Trust (BDN)

    Stock On the Run: Brandywine Realty Trust (BDN)

    Public Employees Retirement System of OH boosted its holdings in shares of Kite Realty Group Trust by 3.1% during the 3rd quarter. Another trade for 87,899 shares valued at $6.24 million was made by GONZALEZ RICHARD A on Thursday, August 3. (NYSE:DLR).


Most liked

China Dec copper imports fall 4.3 pct from mth before -Reuters calculations
Analysts at Nomura say continued global growth may offer support, while possible USA protectionism could weigh on exports. What's more, if China's economy slows this year as some experts predict, that could widen the trade deficit further.

Steve Bannon Turns to Quinn Emanuel's Burck Amid Russia Probe
He is quoted as saying that Trump Jr. committed treason by his dealing with the Russians and that Ivanka was stupid as a brick. Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is also expected to testify next week, the Daily Beast reported .

NY subway bombing: Akayed Ullah pleads not guilty
He was arrested soon after the pipe bomb failed to fully explode, though he was initially hospitalized after suffering burns. Ullah was the only person seriously injured when the government said he detonated the pipe bomb strapped to his body.

Celebrity Big Brother 2018 results! Who left? First celebrity is evicted!
Regretting some of her actions in the house, India confessed: "I'm not kidding myself, I got it wrong and I know that". And despite the housemates willing to do whatever it takes, India Willoughby is not happy with the "sexist" task.

LG Display unveils world's first 65-inch rollable display
One of the features LG have been able to implement using the rollable technology is having the TV operate in different formats. But things are more real this time with LG showcasing a massive 65-inch rollable OLED TV , and that too, with a 4K resolution.

Roger Federer faces Aljaz Bedene first up in Australian Open
The 2018 Australian Open is just around the corner and that means it's time for the all-important draw to be announced. Novak Djokovic , Garbine Muguruza and Stan Wawrinka all face fitness questions ahead of next week's Australian Open .

Trump Lawyer Paid Porn Actress $130000 For Silence Just Before Election
According to NBC San Diego , Clifford allegedly hit her husband multiple times after getting upset over unpaid bills. An attorney whom the WSJ said had represented Ms Clifford declined to comment, citing attorney-client privilege.

Pyeongchang Olympics Security Will Leave Little to Chance
The president added that the talks wouldn't necessarily be held without preconditions. Moon reportedly said Trump deserved significant credit for the dialogue .

Rain expected Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
The average temperature at Bradley International Airport was 27.5 degrees, which is 4.1 degrees below normal! Ice changes to snow. Depending on how much cloud cover we get and how much cool air is behind the cool front it could be even lower than that.

Gov. Inslee demands Trump administration not drill off Washington coast
It's not like there's a thriving tourism business in coastal cities like Charleston or Savannah or Hilton Head. Horton, an attorney, lost a family member in the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte "will not forget" Jose Mourinho's comments
Conte, who was later cleared of any wrongdoing on that front, responded by accusing Mourinho of being "fake" and "a little man ". Per Nick Ames of the Guardian , Conte said: "Everything is possible".

'Shape of Water,' 'Handmaid's Tale' take top Critics' Choice Awards
There were some uncomfortable moments, like Elisabeth Moss getting played off after accepting her award for The Handmaid's Tale . Brooklynn Prince is the star of The Florida Project and was honored for her work in the film at the Critics' Choice Awards .

Detective Pikachu US release confirmed with a giant amiibo
The U.S. release will include all the content from Birth of a New Duo along with new gameplay to finish telling the overall story. The Amiibo will cost $30 (with worldwide pricing yet to be revealed), launching on the same day as the game.

Apple Reduces Cost Of New Batteries For Slowed-Down IPhones
Apple shaved $50 off its standard battery fee in an extraordinary - but limited-time - effort to get back in our good graces. Arguably the best way to see whether your iPhone's battery is still fine or not is to have it checked by an Apple Genius.

Prepared for more face-offs in Doklam, says Army chief
Referring to the United States warnings to Pakistan over its handling of terrorism, he said India will have to wait and see its impact.