Top Four Seeds: 1. Serena Williams, 2. Simona Halep, 3. Garbine Muguruza, and 4. Agnieszka Radwanska.
TOP HALF OF THE WOMEN’S DRAW
SERENA’S QUARTER: Her first round opponent is the feisty Italian, [CR35] Camila Giorgi. Williams leads their head-to-head 2:0; however, Williams is injured and early rounds are her Achilles heel. Then there are the other seven seeded players, including last year’s runner up, Maria Sharapova-seeded 5. Belinda Bencic is the number 12 seed, and was one of the few players to defeat her last year. A potentially emotionally draining match could be against her good friend Caroline Wozniacki, seeded 16. There is also Svetlana Kuznetsova who is coming off a win today in Sydney and seeded 23. A potential threat outside the seeds is the Brit, [CR53] Heather Watson.
RADWANSKA’S QUARTER: seven other seeded players, including the last player she defeated in 2015, Petra Kvitova-seeded 6. Eugenie Bouchard, Christina McHale and Monica Puig are unseeded but could be potential obstacles. Sloane Stephens, seeded 24, just won the ASB Classic last week and looks to have re-discovered her dominant form.
BOTTOM HALF OF THE WOMEN’S DRAW
MUGURUZA’S QUARTER: her first obstacle could be [CR69] Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. Amongst the seven other seeds is Victoria Azarenka who won last week in Brisbane defeating Angelique Kerber. Kerber is seeded 7. Keep an eye on the seeds Timea Bacsinszky, Elina Svitolina and Jelena Jankovic. Then there is the young American, Samantha Crawford. She was very impressive last week losing to Azarenka in the semifinal. Seeded number 32, but always a threat is Caroline Garcia.
HALEP’S QUARTER: Perhaps she gets to be the luckiest of the four seeds. Her first round opponent is a qualifier; however, that may be dangerous. Do not count out [CR42] Alize Cornet, she can be rather persistent. The other seeded players are Ana Ivanovic, Madison Keys, Karolina Pliskova, Ekaterina Makarova, Sabine Lisicki, Lesia Tsurenko, and Venus Williams.
Injury could be the biggest obstacle for quite a few players at this year’s Australian Open. Notable players who are injured or not 100% fit are Serena, Sharapova, Halep, Muguruza, Bencic and Kvitova.