Published: Tue, January 16, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Guide to the 2018 Australian Open

Guide to the 2018 Australian Open

"The depth in womens tennis, I really do believe in the last few years, has gotten so strong".

Despite an intriguing matchup against Borna Coric in the third round, Nadal has a pretty straightforward route to the semis.

Australian Open 2018 will see Roger Federer defend his title.

She lost in the Auckland Classic final last week to Germany's Julia Goerges, but said the rain-disrupted tournament had been tough, ideal preparation. "It's up for grabs".

Here's all the key matches and events at Melbourne Park. The No. 1-ranking changed seven times in 2017, with five different women assuming top spot — three for the first time.

• Top-ranked Simona Halep is looking to finally win her first major after twice finishing runnerup. Previous year I was looking at slipping outside the top 30.

"If I don't feel myself ready, I will not be here". I feel OK. I feel fit.

Rafael Nadal may have well have started as the favourite were it not for his recent injury troubles.

"Everything needs to be perfectly planned, I think, to avoid as many injuries as possible".

Djokovic had contested 51 consecutive Grand Slams until he missed last year's U.S. Open during his rehabilitation.

Second seeded Caroline Wozniacki also comfortably progressed with a straight sets win over Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu as she searches for a maiden Grand Slam crown.

Nadal is hoping that he has healed sufficiently from another bout of his chronic knee problems, Novak Djokovic is keeping everything crossed that the progress of recovery for his right elbow is "fine and adequate" enough to allow him to compete while Stan Wawrinka is just happy that his left knee is now strong enough to let him try a round or two at Melbourne Park.

There are plenty of other contenders, too.

His progress has marked him out as the most likely of the current crop of youngsters to translate his talent into major titles and while he made the fourth round at Wimbledon a year ago, he is yet to push on further.

The 2018 Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the new season, got underway on Monday, Jan. 15.

• Garbine Muguruza is the reigning Wimbledon champion, though her health has been in question.

After sitting out most of 2017 tennis season with a career threatening injury, former World No.1 Novak Djokovic has spent the last six months reassessing his serving technique.

Back on the court, things were equally straightforward for Australian title hope Nick Kyrgios, who promised a new mature approach ahead of the tournament and largely delivered in a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory over Rogerio Dutra Silva.

"I had a great week in Brisbane". Belinda Bencic talked about Roger Federer himself: "Today before the match against Venus, he (Federer) told me to stay focused point by point, to have fun and not to think about the sun.Today it was raining, but usually, at that time of day, you have the sun in your eyes".

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