By Leighton Ginn
Serena Williams will have a tough road in the BNP Paribas Open with possible matchups against former No. 1 players in the world in her first two matches.
Her sister Venus won’t have much of a cake walk either.
The BNP Paribas Open announced its women’s draw on Monday, and the road to the title.
Serena, who won the BNP Paribas Open title in 1999 and 2001, is the 10th seed and will have bye in the first round. In the 96- player draw, the top 32 players have a first-round bye.
To open her tournament, Serena could face Victoria Azarena in a rematch of the 2016 final, which Azarenka won 6-4, 6-4. It’s also a match up of two of the more high-profile working mothers on the tour.
Azarenka will face Vera Lapko in the first-round.
If Serena gets past Azarenka, she could face former No. 1 Garbine Muguruza, who is seeded 20th.
Serena has a 3-2 record against Muguruza.
Muguruza won their last matchup, beating Serena 7-5, 6-4 in the 2016 French Open final to claim her first major title. Muguruza also claimed the 2017 Wimbledon title when she beat Venus Williams 7-5, 6-0.
Venus Williams is unseeded and will play a first-round match against the dangerous Andrea Petkovic. They have split their four career matches, with Petkovic beating Venus in the Stanford tournament in 2014,
If Venus survives her opening match, she will then have to face third-seed Petra Kvitova, who is coming off a finals appearance at the Australian Open.
A two-time Wimbledon champion, Kvitova has a 4-2 record over Venus.
Leighton Ginn, who has covered the BNP Paribas Open for two decades, will be working with iHub Radio during the tournament. iHub will be live from 1-3 p.m. weekdays. You can go to http://www.ihubradio.com to listen or find it on the Tune In app.