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Rising stars could make headway

Considering the way 2008 ended, our instincts say either Venus or Serena Williams will walk about from Melbourne victorious. But the women's field has a bevy of youngsters just waiting for the right opportunity.

Updated: January 16, 2009, 2:11 PM ET
By Kamakshi Tandon | Special to ESPN.com

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Unlike the men's field, there was the real possiblity of a lopsided women's Australian Open draw because two of the main contenders, Ana Ivanovic and Venus Williams, are both ranked outside the top four.

But the luck of the draw has seen the brackets turn out to be quite evenly balanced. The top half is flanked by the Serbs, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, with a Russian in between -- Dinara Safina. The bottom half is flanked by the Williamses, Serena and Venus, ...

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