MELBOURNE, Australia - Eugenie Bouchard admitted she is relishing her second-round meeting with seven-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams.
Canadian Bouchard secured her spot in the second round with a comfortable 6-2, 6-1 victory over Shuai Peng and will face Williams on Thursday after the American opened with a similarly straightforward 6-0, 6-2 success over Tatjana Maria.
"Well, it's a long list," Bouchard, 24, said when asked about Serena's qualities. "She's the greatest ever. So it's just so cool that I'll be able to share the court with her and an opportunity to see how I compare to one of the best players. Her ranking is Top 20 right now, but to me she's always basically No.1.
"I admire the longevity of her career, her dominance over such a long amount of time, how she's come back so many times from injury, pregnancy, et cetera. I don't want to talk about it too much and put her on too much of a pedestal because I have to play her in two days, but I love her.
"I'm super excited - this is why we play the big tournaments, to play the best players."
Williams also had praise for her forthcoming opponent, highlighting her perseverance and willpower.
"It will be a great match. She plays really well," Williams said. "She does everything well, and I really like that she doesn't quit. You know, people write her off, and she doesn't let that bother her. She continues to fight and do what she needs to do. I think that's really good."
Both of the pair's previous meetings came on hard courts, Williams prevailing in both. The 37-year-old won over three sets in Cincinnati in 2013 before also taking the spoils in Singapore at the WTA Finals the following year, this time in straight sets.
No.23 seed or Carla Suárez Navarro or 18-year-old Dayana Yastremska will await Thursday's victor in the third round, with either Venus Williams or World No.1 Simona Halep likely to line up in round four.