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Australian Open 2017: Angelique Kerber Lurks as Serena Williams Chases Record Slam

Serena Williams has vowed to make life difficult for top seed Angelique Kerber and a host of dangerous players out to derail her at the Australian Open, warning she is in Melbourne to win.

AFP

Updated:January 15, 2017, 2:59 PM IST
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Australian Open 2017:  Angelique Kerber Lurks as Serena Williams Chases Record Slam
Angelique Kerber and Serena Williams after 2016 Australian Open final (Getty Images)
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Melbourne: Serena Williams has vowed to make life difficult for top seed Angelique Kerber and a host of dangerous players out to derail her at the Australian Open, warning she is in Melbourne to win.

The American gets her quest for an Open-era record 23rd Grand Slam title underway in a difficult first-round clash against Switzerland's Belinda Bencic in forecast sweltering heat on Tuesday.

It will be one the few matches she has played after a four-month lay-off.

But the 35-year-old, seeded two, is in fighting mood despite being bundled out in the second round of her only warm-up tournament, the Auckland Classic.

"I didn't come here to lose in the first round, or the second round, or at all," she said on Saturday. "If I can play the way I've been practicing, it will be fine.

"I've been spending so much time on the court. It feels really good to be back, just hitting on Rod Laver (Arena), hitting on all the stadiums, it's a good feeling. I love it here."

If she gets past Bencic, Williams could then encounter either in-form Briton Johanna Konta, who won this week's Sydney International, or sixth seed Dominika Cibulkova in the quarter-finals.

And then there's Germany's Kerber, who is scheduled to meet her in the final as the newly-engaged Williams looks to better Steffi Graf's 22 Grand Slam singles titles by winning her seventh Australian crown.

Kerber stunned the tennis great at Melbourne Park last year, upsetting her in the decider for her first major title before later replacing her as the world number one.

That win sparked a memorable season for Kerber, who followed it up by claiming the US Open, where Williams crashed in the semi-finals and has barely played since.

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