Williams of the US gestures with her coach Patrick
Mouratoglou to a hitting partner during a practice session
on Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open tennis
championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 15,
Australia — Top-seeded Serena Williams will play Alison Van
Uytvanck of Belgium in the first round of the Australian Open as
she begins her attempt to win a 19th Grand Slam singles title.
meet former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals
and Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the semifinals following
Friday's draw. The season-opening major begins Monday at Melbourne
In the other
half, second-seeded Maria Sharapova, who plays a qualifier in the
first round, could meet Eugenie Bouchard in the quarterfinals and
Ana Ivanovic, whom she beat in the Brisbane International final
last weekend, in the semis.
Victoria Azarenka, unseeded after an injury-hit 2014, will take on
American Sloane Stephens in the first round in a rematch of their
acrimonious semifinal two years ago when Azarenka left the court
for a medical time out and Stephens questioned her reasons for
beaten Williams in the quarterfinals the same year.
In the men's
draw, No. 2 Roger Federer and No. 3 Rafael Nadal were drawn into
the same half. Top-seeded Novak Djokovic and defending champion
Stan Wawrinka are in the other half of the draw.
Djokovic drew a
qualifier in the first round and Federer, who recently won his
1,000th career match when he beat Milos Raonic in the Brisbane
International final, will play Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan. Djokovic and
Raonic, who also will open against a qualifier, are in the same
quarter of the draw.
meet sixth-seeded Andy Murray of Britain, who plays a qualifier in
the first round, in the quarterfinals. The 17-time Grand Slam
winner also has "Baby Fed," No. 10-seeded Grigor
Dimitrov of Bulgaria, in his quarter.
recovering from appendix surgery he underwent in November, has a
tough first-round match against former top 10-player Mikhail
Youzhny of Russia.
a tough rival who knows how to play good in important
matches," Nadal said Friday.
that every match is dangerous when you are in good shape. Imagine
when you are not playing matches in a row, when you have only
played four matches for the last 6-7 months. Every match is really
dangerous, anything can happen."
begin his title defense against Marsel Ilhan of Turkey.
the year with a Grand Slam and finishing with the Davis Cup, it
was an incredible 2014," Wawrinka said as he and Li Na, the
2014 Australian Open women's champion who retired in September,
delivered the trophies to the draw location outside the newly
refurbished Margaret Court Arena.
Federer were part of the Swiss team that beat France in the Davis
Cup final in November, the country's first win in the competition.
finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan also will play a former top 10
player, Nicolas Almagro of Spain, in the opening round. Juan
Martin del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion on the comeback from
a left wrist injury, will open against Jerzy Janowic, who helped
Poland win the Hopman Cup last week.
1-ranked Lleyton Hewitt, contesting his 19th consecutive
Australian Open, will meet Chinese wild-card entry Zhang Ze.
Li, who called it
quits after four knee operations, said her plans are to open a
tennis academy in China and to start a family.