Serena Williams: Previewing Superstar's Path to Australian Open Finals

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IJanuary 21, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 20:  Serena Williams of the United States of America waves to the crowd in her third round doubles match with Venus Williams of the United States of America against Nadia Petrova of Russia and Katarina Srebotnik Slovenia during day seven of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images

Let's face it. The only person who's going to stop Serena Williams from getting to the Australian Open finals is Serena Williams. 

The veteran superstar, who has won in Australia five times in her career and has an astounding 15 Grand Slam titles under her belt, is simply a step above the rest of the competition. 

She's just too powerful. Her serve is, well, to put it plainly, the most dominant serve in the history of women's tennis. It comes at you like a rocket, but her second serve also contains a great deal of spin that is difficult to deal with.

Moreover, she is aggressive and can hit winners with both her forehand and backhand. 

Put it all together, and it's not surprising that Williams is such a heavy favorite every time she walks onto a hard surface. 

Nevertheless, the talented righty is prone to both playing down to her opponent and suffering the untimely injury. If she is at the top of her game, however, the following opponents are in trouble. 

Note: For a complete look at the Australian Open bracket, check out


Quaterfinals: Sloane Stephens

You're going to be hard-pressed to find a more anticipated quarterfinal matchup, no matter what draw you look at.

Why? Because Stephens is being touted as the "next" Serena. 

Much like Williams, the 19-year-old American has a powerful serve and an aggressive style. In their first-ever match just a few weeks ago, Serena was "only" able to break Stephens' serve twice during her straight-set victory.


Still, it was a hard-fought match, and Williams said after the match that Stephens "could be the best in the world one day" (via USA TODAY Sports' Chris Chase).

This has a very good chance of being the beginning of a tremendous rivalry. 


Semifinals: Victoria Azarenka

Svetlana Kuznetsova is coming off a huge win over Caroline Wozniacki, but it's hard to imagine the young Belarusian failing to make it to the semis. 

That would set up a match between the World No. 1 and the, um, "real" No. 1. 

Williams has absolutely owned Azarenka. She is 12-1 in her career against the young star (which includes a withdrawal by Azarenka in Brisbane earlier this month) and lost just one set in their five matches last year. 

Moreover, Williams has beaten Azarenka three times in Australia, although the last time came in 2010.