Defending champion Serena Williams has been handed a tough draw for the 2016 Australian Open, with a potential quarter-final clash with Maria Sharapova on the cards.
The world number one will begin her title defence at Melbourne Park with a match against world number 35 Camila Giorgi of Italy, the highest-ranked player in the draw not to be seeded.
Should the top seed navigate her way past the opening rounds, she could face former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter-finals before coming up against Sharapova in the last eight in what will be a repeat of last year’s final.
Second seed Simona Halep will face a qualifier first up, while third-seeded Garbine Muguruza will face Estonian Anett Kontaveit in the first round. Fourth Agnieszka Radwanska, who has reached the quarterfinals or better in Melbourne in four of the last five years, opens her campaign against American Christina McHale.
Two-time winner Victoria Azarenka – who is one of the form players heading to Melbourne – will come up against Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium in the first round.