Djokovic, Halep, Top Seeds at Australian Open

World No 1s Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep were named top seeds on Thursday for next week’s Australian Open.

Djokovic heads long-time rival Rafael Nadal and defending champion Roger Federer, with young-gun Alexander Zverev seeded four as he targets a maiden Grand Slam title.

The Serbian world No 1 is aiming to make history by claiming a record seventh Australian Open crown when the tournament starts at Melbourne Park on Monday, as is Swiss legend Federer.

The pair face a stern challenge from Zverev, the torch-bearer for the next generation who has so far failed to get beyond the quarterfinals at any major.

With world No 5 Juan Martin del Potro missing through injury, South Africa’s Kevin Anderson is elevated to fifth seed with last year’s beaten finalist Marin Cilic at six.

Halep takes the top seeding among the women courtesy of her world No 1 ranking, but she enters the tournament with only one match in four months under her belt after an injury lay off.

The Romanian, the beaten finalist last year, is returning from a herniated disc and was bundled out of the Sydney International on Wednesday at the first hurdle.

Denmark’s defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, who is battling health problems and poor form, is seeded three, one behind Germany’s Angelique Kerber.

US Open champion Naomi Osaka is at four while Sloane Stephens, who also slumped out of Sydney early, is at five.

Overshadowing them all is the mighty Serena Williams, who last played the tournament in 2017 when she won while eight weeks pregnant.

The 37-year-old enters the tournament seeded 16, but has proved in the past that such numbers mean little to her.

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