Tough Australian Open road ahead for Serena Williams’ pursuit of 24th major

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Third Round

Serena Williams' road to her 24th career major singles title could involve meetings with several other players with Grand Slam titles on their resumes at the 2021 Australian Open.

Williams, who will try for the 11th time to match Margaret Court's record for career Grand Slam titles, was seeded 10th when the draw for 2021's first major was made Friday. The 39-year-old American is in a half of the draw that features seven Grand Slam champions, including four former world No. 1s.

The Australian Open will start Monday in Melbourne, about a month late because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Williams' run at the Australian Open will come after she withdrew from a tune-up event Friday, citing an injured right shoulder after she defeated fellow American Danielle Collins in the quarterfinals of the Yarra Valley Classic.

Williams is scheduled to open play in the Australian Open against Germany's Laura Siegmund. A quarterfinal could loom against No. 2 Simona Halep of Romania.

Top-seeded Ashleigh Barty, of Australia, and fourth-seeded defending champion Sofia Kenin of the United States highlight the top half of the draw. Last year, Kenin defeated Barty in the semifinals.

No. 3 Naomi Osaka of Japan, No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, No. 6 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, No. 8 Bianca Andreescu of Canada and No. 9 Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic round out the top 10.

Should Williams advance, she could face Halep, Osaka and Barty in succession.

Williams' sister, Venus, is unseeded and faces Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens in the first round. The Williams sisters faced off in the 2017 final of the event, when Serena Williams won and took home the most recent of her seven Australian Open championships.

(Field Level Media)