Australian Open R1: (1) Serena Williams vs Camila Giorgi
Serena Williams will begin her title defense at Melbourne Park on Monday where she takes on Camila Giorgi in a potentially dangerous opening round encounter. Giorgi is the highest ranked opponent that Serena could have faced in the opening round having just missed out on being seeded by one place. There have been concerns surrounding Serena’s fitness heading into the first Grand Slam of the year, however the American is adamant that she is healthy and ready to compete.
Serena Williams’ preparation for this year’s Australian Open has been less than ideal. The world number 1 was only able to play just over 1 set of tennis at the Hopman Cup, withdrawing from the event due to a knee injury. However, the 6-time former champion believes that her injury interrupted preparation will not affect her performance in Melbourne, stating that she ‘is feeling 120 percent and that she is no longer experiencing any knee inflammation.’
Camila Giorgi’s early season form hasn’t been spectacular. The Italian suffered a first round loss in Brisbane where she was defeated by Angelique Kerber in 3 sets before reaching the quarter-final stage in Hobart were she was thrashed by Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets. Giorgi will head into her first round clash with Serena having absolutely nothing to lose, which is probably the mindset that helps Giorgi play her best tennis.
Serena has won both the previous encounters between the pair, including a 7-6 6-2 victory in a Fed Cup tie early last year. Both of their previous matches have been on clay court meaning this match will be a whole new story. However, it is likely to have a very similar outcome.
There is no doubt that Giorgi is a dangerous opponent, but that might work in Serena’s favour. The world number 1 will know that she has to very alert heading into this match and I believe she will make a statement here by recording a solid victory. Serena is just far too strong in every aspect of the game for Giorgi and will take advantage of the Italian’s erratic serve.