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Leading women's Australian Open contenders

AAP logoAAP 12/01/2017 Darren Walton

HOW THE LEADING WOMEN SHAPE UP FOR THE 2017 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

ANGELIQUE KERBER (GER)

Age: 28

Ranking: 1

Plays: left-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US19,344,661 ($A26.52 million)

Career titles: 10

Grand slam titles: 2 (Australian Open 2016; US Open 2016)

Australian Open win-loss record: 18-8

Best Australian Open result: champion 2016

The defending champion and bona fide world No.1 after becoming the first woman in a decade other than Serena Williams to reach three grand slam finals in a season.

SERENA WILLIAMS (USA)

Age: 35

Ranking: 2

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US81,761,761 ($A112.10 million)

Career titles: 71

Grand slam titles: 22 (Australian Open 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009-10, 2105; French Open 2002, 2013, 2015; Wimbledon 2002-03, 2009-10, 2012, 2015-16; US Open 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012-2014)

Australian Open win-loss record: 74-10

Best Australian Open results: champion 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009-10, 2015

The dethroned queen remains bent on catching Margaret Court's all-time record 24 grand slam singles titles and few would back against her from reigning for a seventh time in Melbourne.

AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA (POL)

Age: 27

Ranking: 3

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US25,953,027 ($A35.58 million)

Career titles: 20

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 32-10

Best Australian Open results: semi-finalist 2014, 2016

The Hungarian is the most accomplished player in the game yet to win a major and is getting closer after falling a win short of the final in two of the past three years.

SIMONA HALEP (ROM)

Age: 25

Ranking: 4

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US15,469,042 ($A21.21 million)

Career titles: 14

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 10-6

Best Australian Open results: quarter-finalist 2014, 2015

A consistent force who has never been beyond the last eight at Melbourne Park but with a top-four seeding the former Roland Garros runner-up can't be dismissed.

KAROLINA PLISKOVA (CZE)

Age: 24

Ranking: 5

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US7,124,144 ($A9.77 million)

Career titles: 7

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 5-4

Best Australian Open results: third round 2015, 2016

The US Open finalist has emerged as one of the most explosive talents in the game with a serve capable of blowing away any opponent on her day.

DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA (SVK)

Age: 27

Ranking: 6

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US10,897,801 ($A14.94 million)

Career titles: 8

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 17-9

Best Australian Open result: finalist 2014

The one-time runner-up has never been seeded higher at a slam and mustn't be written off after toppling Kerber to win the season-ending championship.

BEST OUTSIDER

JOHANNA KONTA (GBR)

Age: 26

Ranking: 10

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US3,250,508 ($A4.46 million)

Career titles: 1

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 5-1

Best Australian Open result: semi-finalist 2016

The Australian-born Brit is the most improved player on tour and a genuine dark horse after crashing the world's top 10 for the first time.

BEST AUSTRALIAN HOPES

SAMANTHA STOSUR

Age: 32

Ranking: 21

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US16,410,745 ($A22.50 million)

Career titles: 8

Grand slam titles: 1 (US Open 2011)

Australian Open win-loss record: 18-14

Best Australian Open results: fourth round 2006, 2010

The veteran has never ventured beyond the last 16 and arrives without a win in almost five months but remains Australia's top-ranked women's player.

DARIA GAVRILOVA

Age: 22

Ranking: 25

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US1,685,358 ($A2.31 million)

Career titles: 0

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 4-3

Best Australian Open result: fourth round 2016

The irrepressible youngster loves the big stage, is seeded for the first time and relishing the chance to better her memorable run last year in front of her home-town fans.

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