Five women to watch at the Australian Open [Photos]
SEE ALSO :Lasting legacy drives DjokovicWill this be the moment when the American great finally makes it a 24th Grand Slam title? The 38-year-old Williams, now a mother, has been stuck on 23 Major triumphs since winning the Australian Open in 2017 when she beat her sister Venus. Incredibly, Williams has lost her last four Slam finals, and each time failed to even win a set. Nevertheless, she is still a formidable presence and the woman to beat in Melbourne. Now in her fourth decade on the WTA Tour, Williams started the season well when she won in Auckland -- her 73rd tour victory and first since the 2017 Australian Open. - Naomi Osaka -
SEE ALSO :Nadal tops as new crop of women emergeThe 22-year-old hit the highs and the lows in 2019. When Osaka triumphed at last year's Australian Open for her second Grand Slam title she looked set to reign over the women's game. But the Japanese then endured a slump, exiting in the first round of Wimbledon and seeing her US Open defence fall flat. With her father standing in as coach, Osaka roared back to the form that made her world number one with back-to-back titles in Japan and China. In December she hired Belgian Wim Fissette as her coach -- her fourth in less than a year.
SEE ALSO :Serena glad to be back in New Zealand- Simona Halep - The 28-year-old Halep will have to dispel lingering doubts about her troublesome back. She is a former number one and two-time Grand Slam champion -- at Roland Garros in 2018 and then last year at Wimbledon, where she convincingly defeated Williams in the final, 6-2, 6-2. But Halep struggled towards the end of the season with her back, which has troubled her for several years. In December was voted WTA Fan Favourite for the third time in a row. - Coco Gauff - Just 15, the American ploughed through qualifying and then stunned five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round at Wimbledon last year, before going out in the fourth round to eventual champion Halep. It was no fluke. Gauff went on to make the US Open third round and won her maiden title in Linz in her next tournament. At the end of 2018 she was ranked 686th in the world, but 12 months later had rocketed up to 68th. Will face Venus Williams once more in the first round in Melbourne in one of the matches of the day on Monday.
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