Serena Williams‘ road to history at the Australian Open is once again full of obstacles in the women’s singles draw.
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion attempting (for the seventh time) to tie Margaret Court‘s career record total, could play defending champion Naomi Osaka in the quarterfinals in Melbourne. No. 1 Ash Barty could be her semifinal opponent.
Williams is coming off her first tournament title in three years — since she won the 2017 Australian Open while eight weeks pregnant — to become the first player of either gender to win top-level titles in four different decades in the Open Era.
Williams’ quarter of the draw also includes a first-round matchup between older sister Venus Williams and 15-year-old sensation Coco Gauff, a rematch of their Wimbledon tilt. The Venus-Gauff winner could get Osaka in the third round and Serena in the quarters.
The bottom half of the draw includes No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova (yet to win a Slam), 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber and two-time major winner Simona Halep.
Maria Sharapova, the 2008 Australian Open champ, needed a wild card to get into the main draw. The Russian gets 19th seed Donna Vekic in the first round.
Canadian Bianca Andreescu, who beat Williams in the U.S. Open final, withdrew citing rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during her last match on Oct. 30.
The world figure skating championships from Saitama, Japan, air live on USA Network and Peacock this week.
The U.S. has medal contenders in all four disciplines, one year after winning a medal in all four events for the first time since 1967 (note Russia’s ban, and China sent no skaters).
In the pairs’ event that starts Tuesday night (U.S. time), Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier can become the first U.S. duo to win multiple world titles, one year after becoming the first American pair to take gold since 1979.
They rank second in the world this season behind Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, last year’s silver medalists who look to earn Japan’s first pairs’ world title.
Japan has the world’s top two women’s singles skaters in reigning world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Grand Prix Final winner Mai Mihara.
Isabeau Levito, a 16-year-old American who won last year’s world junior title, ranks fourth in the field by best score this season. She can become the youngest world medalist since 2014.
Ilia Malinin, an 18-year-old American who this season became the first skater to land a quadruple Axel, is seeded second in the men’s field behind Shoma Uno, the reigning world champion from Japan.
In ice dance, Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates posted the world’s top score this season at last month’s Four Continents Championships in Colorado Springs. After 12 seasons together, their goal is to win their first world title after silver in 2015, bronze in 2016 and bronze in 2022.