Serena Williams plays her first singles match since the U.S. Open final when she launches her 2020 season at the ASB Classic in Auckland against Camila Giorgi in the opening round on Tuesday.
Serena Williams (??) vs Camila Giorgi (??) Match Info
Date: Tuesday January 7
Tournament: ASB Classic, WTA Auckland R1
Time: 4.30pm local time (3.30am GMT)
Serena Williams (??) vs Camila Giorgi (??) Head-to-Head
2013 | Charleston R32 | Serena 6-2 6-3
2015 | Fed Cup | Serena 7-6(5) 6-2
2016 | Australian Open R128 | Serena 6-4 7-5
2018 | Wimbledon QF | Serena 3-6 6-3 6-4
Serena Williams (??) vs Camila Giorgi (??) Match Preview
The fourth decade of Serena Williams’ legendary career starts at the ASB Classic in Auckland on Monday as she squares off against the hard-hitting Camila Giorgi in the opening round, who moved into this spot in the draw after the withdrawal of Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Returning to Auckland for the first time since 2017 – the year she won her last title at the Australian Open – Serena says she’s hoping for a more successful stay in the Kiwi city this time around. Serena was bundled out in the second round by Madison Brengle in horrifically windy conditions that season, declaring her visit a ‘miserable’ stay when quizzed by reporters upon her return this week.
— Chris Chang (@ChrisChang) January 3, 2020
“I just remember it was windy and being angry, hating my now husband [Alexis Ohanian]. I was like ‘I can’t stand you and I don’t know why,’” the 23-time major champion said.
“Obviously at the time I didn’t know why either … I was six weeks pregnant and I had no idea. So looking back it’s so surreal and crazy and now that I’m here, I have all of these funny memories of being miserable.
“I always knew that I would have to come back, for sure. I didn’t even realise what was happening, and now I’m here with my daughter.
“This is kind of where it all began. It’s amazing. It’s so exciting to be here with her, and to know that this is literally where it started.”
Despite her swift exit from Auckland in 2017, Serena went on to surge to the Australian Open title later that month, defeating sister Venus in the final while she was more than two months pregnant.
However, since her return to competition over the last two years, Serena hasn’t been able to lift any silverware, coming perilously close at four Grand Slam finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in both 2018 and 2019. Serena struggled to find her best tennis and maybe found the pressure of trying equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 major titles tough to handle in all of those finals, including her last match against Bianca Andreescu in New York.
In saying that, Serena – who will also play doubles in Auckland alongside the retiring Caroline Wozniacki – remains the favourite in basically every tournament she enters, and she is more determined than ever to start the decade off with a bang. Will it be a polished performance on Tuesday in Auckland?
She has a tough opener against one of the most unpredictable players on tour. Camila Giorgi, 28, has been around for quite a while now, developing a reputation as being one of the most dangerous floaters in significant tournaments due to her blistering power and ability to blast almost anyone off the court when firing on all cylinders.
However, the problem for Giorgi is that she can’t sustain that level of tennis throughout the course of a match and season as a whole, which is why her career-high ranking remains at No. 26. That came during her career-best year, with Giorgi making her first Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon, where she actually won the opening set off Serena before going down in three. The Italian also won her second career title in 2018 in Linz, but a wrist injury sidelined her for much of 2019 as he ranking dropped to a current mark of No. 99 – although she did manage to make the final in Washington.
Giorgi’s low ranking meant she had to qualify in Auckland, but with solid wins over Kurumi Nara, Caroline Dolehide and Ysaline Bonaventure, she now has a lot of match-play under her belt as she prepares to confront Serena in the opening round of the main draw on Tuesday.
Serena Williams (??) vs Camila Giorgi (??) Prediction
Serena has won all four of their previous meetings, including that aforementioned last clash at Wimbledon, but Giorgi has the shots and firepower to make life very difficult for the American, especially in her first match of the season. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Giorgi managed to sneak the opening set, but it’s always hard to go past Serena finding a solution – but again, this could be a very tough match for the 23-time Grand Slam champion to navigate past.