22-time Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams is scheduled to kick off a star-studded day session that includes the impressive Naomi Osaka, New Zealand number one Marina Erakovic and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki. The night session follows with a showcase with Venus Williams against aspiring New Zealand player Jade Lewis. Following that, tournament organisers have scheduled a thriller between 2016 ASB Classic finalist Julia Goerges and top 30 player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The Williams’ sisters and Wozniacki have a collective 29 Grand Slams between them and have spent nearly 400 weeks at world number one. Kicking off Super Tuesday is this era’s predominant female player Serena Williams. The 35-year-old American is the highest paid female athlete in the world, was named ‘Sports Woman of the Year’ at the Laureus Sports Awards for the third time in 2016 and included in Time ‘100 Most Influential People’.
Earlier on Monday, world no. 62 Lucie Safarova cruised through her opening encounter at the ASB Classic, the first player to progress to the tournament's second round. Safarova beat fellow Czech player Denisa Allertova 6-1 6-2 in little over an hour. The 29-year-old is a darkhorse in the tournament, having reached the final of the French Open in 2015 and the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 2014. She finished 2015 firmly ranked inside the world’s top ten players before illness limited her schedule in 2016. Japan’s Kurumi Nara also progressed, beating Antonia Lottner 6-2 6-2.
Teenage prodigy Naomi Osaka got off to a strong start against Germany’s Annika Beck. She stormed through the first set 6-2 and was up 2-1 before rain pulled off her court. The 19-year-old was crowned the WTA’s Newcomer of the Year and will continue her battle against Beck as the second match up on Centre Court Tuesday.