Serena Williams handed strong draw in Paribas Open

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After a year break, Serena Williams was handed was handed a draw at the BNP Paribas Open.

the Major champion could end up facing veteran world number one Victoria Azarenka in a second-round match, as the draw was revealed on Monday.

No, 10 seed Williams was drawn into the same quarter of the draw as number four seed Sloane Stephens and no. 7 Kiki Bertens in the middle half, Azarenka has 

 

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Playing solo this time ?

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 Azarenka has already the upper hand over Williams and she thrashed her in the finals of the 2016 tournament.

Williams is up for an uphill task as even if she manages to win her second-round match, she could end up facing number 20 seed and two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza.

In other quarters of the second half, no. 2 seed Simona Halep will challenge the winner of Barbora Strycova or a qualifier first up.

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On the top half of the draw, a rematch of the recent loss looms over the defending champion and top seed Naomi Osaka.

She will encounter either Zheng Saisai or Kristina Mladenovic in her first match at the tournament this year.