Her toughest foes in her half of the draw could be Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, who is coming off of a disappointing opening round loss to Sachia Vichery in Indian Wells, Keys, the No. 10 seed and potentially Bellis and Azarenka, and No. 7 seed, the much improved Caroline Garcia who seems primed for a breakthrough big-tournament win.
SERENA Williams crashed out of the Miami Open in the first round on Wednesday after falling to Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka in straight sets.
Now ready to compete in Miami where she is an eight-time victor, Williams said a first tournament win since Melbourne would be special but for now, is focused on slowly getting better and better each week after her first taste of competitive action.
Williams, who is a minority owner of the Dolphins, was all smiles as she helped unveil new plans for the Miami Open which will see the Hard Rock stadium converted into a 14,000-seater tennis arena while another 29 courts will be built in the auto parks and surrounding area. Osaka had the stronger serve and worn Williams down in rallies working her from side to side.
Many have criticised this as unfairly penalising Williams for her period of maternity leave, including Miami's tournament director.
Blake lamented that rules didn't allow Williams to keep her seeding points and get an easier draw. The WTA no longer does special seedings, although it is attempting to be more accommodating toward women returning from pregnancy.
She danced in crystal-covered Nike Cortez kicks at her wedding with Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian previous year, so it's no wonder that Serena Williams would rock Air Jordans on the eve of the 2018 Miami Open.
'It makes sense to protect someone who goes on maternity leave, ' said Blake about his countrywoman.
Contrary to what Simon said, some players do think that rankings should be protected. Having revealed that she "nearly died" from complications after giving birth to her daughter last September, Serena was, not surprisingly, not in peak physical condition on her return to tournament play.
Williams had an especially hard time after giving birth in an emergency C-section, with her past issues with blood clots resurfacing because having surgery meant she was not taking her usual anticoagulant. "A day at a time", she said. "So a little bit at a time and eventually I'll get there". "We have a huge capital investment there, as you can see, and you want to make the most use out of it". Both can hit a huge ball, but also move well, making this a potentially thrilling clash. "But anyone who is counting Serena out is doing so at their peril".
"So just playing against her is kind of like a dream for me". It was devastating. But when I look at the photos now of how it's going to be, I'm really excited.