Former World No.1 Venus Williams opens play on Day 3 of the Australian Open, while top seed Angelique Kerber faces a familiar foe on Rod Laver Arena.
WTA Staff

MELBOURNE, Australia - Grand Slam champions abound on Day 3 of the Australian Open, with two of 2016's three major winners - World No.1 Angelique Kerber and French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza - hoping to advance into the third round in Melbourne. We preview all the day's matchups right here at

Wednesday, Second Round

[13] Venus Williams (USA #17) vs Stefanie Voegele (SUI #112)
Head-to-head: Venus leads, 2-0
Key Stat: Voegele won her first Grand Slam main draw match since the 2015 Australian Open on Monday (d. Kurumi Nara)

The former World No.1 was given all she could handle in a tough first round against Kateryna Kozlova, and was feeling confident after knocking out her younger opponent in straight sets.

"Girl, I don't know," she joked with Sam Smith during the on-court interview. "I know how to play tennis."

She certainly proved that after holding off the Ukrainian youngster, and will try to show more of that level against Voegele, a former World No.42 who is inching closer towards the Top 100 after over two years in the wildnerness.

Venus and Voegele will open play on Rod Laver Arena, and the American will likely look to keep rallies short as the heat could possibly become a factor should the match run long.

Angelique Kerber

[1] Angelique Kerber (GER #1) vs Carina Witthoeft (GER #89)
Head-to-head: Kerber leads, 2-0
Key Stat: Kerber is trying to defend a Grand Slam title for the first time in her career.

Angelique Kerber enjoyed a strong finish to the first match in her Australian Open title defense on Monday, edging past Lesia Tsurenko, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

"I was trying just to going for it in the third set, just trying to play my game," she said in her post-match press conference. "I think that was the key for the match today."

In the second round she takes on countrywoman Carina Witthoeft, whom she played twice at Wimbledon in the last two years. Their most recent encounter featured a first-set tie-break, the only set in which Witthoeft won more than one game.

Either way, Kerber won't be taking too much into their next match.

"It's the second round. I'm not looking too much about my opponents. I think she played a good match here. I know her very well; I think it will be a good match.

"But for me it's important to go out there playing my match again, not thinking too much about my opponent."

Garbine Muguruza

[7] Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP #7) vs Samantha Crawford (USA #162)
Head-to-head: First meeting
Key Stat: Muguruza shook off injury concerns in her first-round win against Marina Erakovic

The reigning French Open champion may not be at 100%, but has nonetheless channeled those niggling injuries into a glowing start to 2017, reaching the semifinals of the Brisbane International and sweeping aside Marina Erakovic in her first match in Melbourne.

"I was happy to win the first set, and then I just felt a little bit uncomfortable," she said of her state of mind on Margaret Court Arena. "I just thought, take some precaution because of what happened in Brisbane. I took a medical timeout and became a little bit unfocused on the court. It took me a couple of games to get into the match again."

Once she did, she didn't let go, winning the final five games of the match, and blamed typical first-round jitters on compounding her physical concerns.

"I think this match was definitely more mental in certain situations, so I'm pretty pleased. I had to really forget about that and try to bring the best I had there."

Muguruza next faces young American Samantha Crawford, who burst onto the scene last year when she herself reached the semifinals in Brisbane. Her own injuries have stunted her progress since, but the 2012 US Open junior champion is a clean ballstriker when playing her best.

Around the grounds?
No.11 seed Elina Svitolina opens play on Margaret Court Arena against Julia Boserup, followed by No.8 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova's second round match against Aussie qualifier Jaimee Fourlis.

Women's doubles also gets underway on Wednesday, with top seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic taking on Belinda Bencic and Ana Konjuh. Venus and Serena also debut as the No.15, and all four women in the hunt for No.1 are in action, including Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Elena Vesnina, with partners Lucie Safarova and Ekaterina Makarova, respectively.