Serena and Kuznetsova will resume rivalry in Auckland

Wellington, January 4 (AFP) Serena Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova, multiple Grand Slam winners, will resume their 16-year rivalry after they met Saturday in the first round of Auckland WTA Classic next week.

Williams, 38, and Kuznetsova, 34, are in a competitive half of the draw in which veterans compete against rising tennis stars, including American teen sensations Amanda Anisimova and Coco Gauff, as well as 22 . Latvia Jelena Ostapenko.

Williams leads Kuznetsova 10-3 in his direct clashes since 2004 and has won 23 Grand Slams compared to two for the Russian.

The last time Williams played in Auckland in 2017, he had problems with the wind and faced in the second round before winning the Australian Open a few weeks later.

Gauff, 15, who made the headlines with his victory in the first round over Venus Williams in Wimbledon last year, opens against Auckland semifinalist number 56 and 2019 Viktoria Kuzmova, while Anisimova has faced Kateryna Kozlova from Ukraine.

Ostapenko, the seventh seed, plays against German Laura Siegemund in the first round. On the other side of the draw, the fifth seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who will play her penultimate tournament before retiring after the Australian Open, faces rookie New Zealand Paige Hourigan in the first round. Wozniacki will also join Serena Williams in the doubles for the first time. (AFP) APA APA