Australian Open 2019: Serena Williams faces tough path to win 24th major

  • Draw puts Williams on course to meet Halep in fourth round
  • Johanna Konta to play Ajla Tomljanovic in Melbourne opener

All eyes were on Serena Williams, who won the Australian Open when seven weeks pregnant in 2017 and needs one more major to draw alongside Margaret Court at the top of the all-time list on 24, as the women’s draw was made on Thursday. She has a gentle opener against the unseeded German Tatjana Maria, but could play world No1 Simona Halep in the fourth round and is in the same half as Naomi Osaka, who beat her in the final of the US Open in September.

Williams, who is seeded 16 for the tournament in Melbourne after reaching the past two grand slam finals, will play her first tour match since the defeat by Osaka when she takes on Maria on Tuesday having prepared for the Australian Open with three successive singles victories in the Hopman Cup.

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