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Australian Open glance: Djokovic, Serena play 1st matches

Australian Open glance: Djokovic, Serena play 1st matches

Everyone else she faced early were cannon fodder - Karolina Pliskova in New York, Julia Goerges at Wimbledon being the highest seeds she overcame.

"Don't cry. You did really well".

John McEnroe and Chrissie Evert share their thoughts on Serena Williams' easy victory over Dayana Yastremska.

"I think I played my best match here this year", the French Open champion said. "I liked that. It showed that she wasn't just there to play the match, she was there to win". She wanted to win.

Halep has had a hard start to 2019's first grand slam with matches against Kaia Kanepi and Sofia Kenin before facing the Williams sisters back-to-back, and she says she has never had such a challenging first week at a grand slam. I'm used to facing her. "It's good to see that attitude", she added.

The fourth round of the Australian Open continues Monday, and all eyes will be on Serena Williams, who takes on world No. 1 Simona Halep in a blockbuster match on Rod Laver Arena (3 a.m. ET on ESPN2). Halep is seeking her first-ever Australian Open title. Every time I face the sisters is a big challenge for me.

"Now I don't feel intimidated anymore", Halep said.

Halep, who beat Williams' elder sister Venus to reach the fourth round, secured her sole victory over the American in the group stages of the 2014 WTA Finals. Against a slower Venus, she was aggressive and swift and took her chances, unlike the first two rounds.

Speaking on court afterwards, Williams said: "It was a really intense match with some incredible points". "She played a great match".

Osaka appeared on course for a third round exit in Melbourne, after losing the opening set of her match to Hsieh Su-wei of Chinese Taipei before she battled back to earn a three-set 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 triumph. She hasn't played since the US Open past year, except for the Hopman Cup where she won all her matches.

That resume pales in comparison to Serena's, of course.

She expected a sterner test on Monday against Serena, who is chasing a record equalling 24th Grand Slam at Melbourne Park and has an 8-1 winning record over the Romanian.

Williams knows what it's like to be the one weeping after a loss, so she put her right hand on Yastremska's shoulder and consoled her by saying, "You're so young. I haven't played the world number one since I've been back [from having a baby], so, yeah, it will be good".

But the 14-time Grand Slam champion responded, taking just 26 minutes to win the fourth set 6-0. "I think Serena is Serena, with or without me". With wins in 12 of her last 13 sets when you include the Hopman Cup, it's clear to say that Serena is in great form and should be considered the overwhelming favorite to win this title.


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