Serena is a Slam-dunk for sixth Aussie crown

MELBOURNE: Serena Williams goes into the Australian Open a red-hot favourite in her quest for a sixth title with even world number one Victoria Azarenka admitting the American is the player to beat.

Williams gets her 13th Melbourne campaign underway Tuesday against Romania’s Edina Gallovits-Hall, fresh from claiming her 47th career title in Brisbane and with a rare calendar-year Grand Slam in her sights.

But the formidable and newly focused American, 31, is doing her best to play down soaring expectations before the Grand Slam season gets underway at Melbourne Park on Monday.

“That’s an incredible goal,” she said of the Grand Slam of winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open in the same year, a feat last achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988.