Armchair guide to the Australian Open women’s draw

Justin Cormick Roar Pro

By , Justin Cormick is a Roar Pro

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    Serena Williams' greatest tournament win came at Melbourne Park a decade ago. (AFP PHOTO/ Martin Bernetti)

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    After yesterday’s mens’ instalment, here is the armchair guide to the women’s draw at the upcoming Australian Open.

    Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will all be fighting for the WTA number one position when the Australian Open begins on Monday.

    Azarenka, the current number one and defending champion, begins her tournament against Romania’s Monica Niculescu. The Belarusian was forced to pull out of this month’s Brisbane international due to an injury, but I back her to recover and be a dangerous player.

    Second seed Maria Sharapova faces compatriot Olga Puchkova in the first round. Sharapova will be hoping to improve from last year’s performance where she was a losing finalist.

    Serena Williams will also be competing for the number one ranking. With triumphs in last year’s Wimbledon and US Open, Serena will be aiming for a third-consecutive grand slam trophy. And after winning the Brisbane International Williams will be a favourite for the Australian Open.

    My favourite for the tournament is 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska. The 23-year-old Pole played well in Sydney where she won the final against Dominika Cibulkova.

    Radwanska had an impressive 2012 and will aim for better things this year. And winning the Australian Open will be a great way to start off 2013.

    Cibulkova did well to make the Sydney final and will be a dangerous player in the draw. Also keep an eye on Germany’s Sabine Lisiki who faces former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the first round.

    If she can get past this difficult opponent, I back Lisiki to do well.

    Australia’s Sam Stosur begins her tournament against Chang Kai-Chen from Chinese Taipei. Sammy out ranks her opponent, who is ranked 84 compared to Stosur’s 9, but the Aussie will need all the luck on her side to beat her home voodoo.

    Fellow Australian Jarmila Gajdosova faces a tough first round match with Belgium’s Yarnina Wickmayer.

    Be sure to watch the Australian Open when it begins on Monday, and check out The Roar for more reviews and predictions.