(5) Angelique Kerber
Kerber is the top left-hander in the women's game and arrives in Melbourne at a career-high position of fifth in the world rankings.
The German, who turned professional in 2003, has a well-rounded game with no glaring weaknesses. She operates mainly from the baseline and is among the best returners of serve in the women's draw.
Kerber emerged into the elite at the 2011 US Open by reaching the semi-final, where she went down in three sets to eventual champion Samantha Stosur.
That run triggered a breakthrough campaign in 2012 which saw her rise into the top 10.
She picked up her maiden WTA title in Paris in February, beating Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in the final of the indoor tournament.
And then she added a second title two months later in Copenhagen, also on an indoor hardcourt, by again denying a local favourite, Caroline Wozniacki, in the final.
She matched her best result at a Grand Slam at Wimbledon, losing in straight sets to Agnieszka Radwanska in the semi-finals.
Kerber, who will turn 25 during the tournament, has a modest record at the Australian Open, third-round appearances in 2010 and 2012 the farthest she has been in five attempts.