Medicine

Halep faces local teen wildcard at Australian Open

Halep faces local teen wildcard at Australian Open

But Caroline Wozniacki has been there before, so as she enters the Australian Open for an 11th time, the current world No.2 is focused only on the new.

Halep has suffered first-round defeats in her last two trips to Melbourne and remains without a Grand Slam title, having lost two French Open finals, including last year's to Jelena Ostapenko.

Fourth seed Elina Svitolina, champion in Brisbane last week, has been drawn against a to-be-determined qualifier. At the same time, I'm just doing what I can do. "That's what I'm focusing on", said the Dane as she faced media at Melbourne Park for the first time in 2018.

"I feel good. I think I've had a great previous year".

The Ukrainian believes hard work in the off-season is paying dividends.

"It's the same. I don't put more, I don't put less pressure. It's a little different, I suppose, this time around". She reached the last eight in both of her Australian Open appearances to date, but slumped out of the Sydney International in the first round this week.

ROSLAN RAHMAN  AFP
ROSLAN RAHMAN AFP

The controversial Russian, ranked 47, lost in the Shenzhen semi-final to Katerina Siniakova and admitted she had "a lot of things to improve on".

"It's a new tournament, a new year".

The Danish star has returned to number two in the rankings after enjoying an excellent 2017.

Evergreen 37-year-old Venus Williams, who last won a Slam in 2008, is seeded five and has a first-round encounter with Swiss Belinda Bencic, who teamed up with Roger Federer to win the mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth last week.

She's a candidate, everybody is saying her draw is not the easiest, but I feel like if Halep is playing well, she will have a similar chance to Wozniacki.

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