Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts after winning a shot against Flavia Pennetta of Italy during their women's singles tennis match at the 2015 Hopman Cup in Perth, January 5, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
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Serena Williams' Australian Open preparations included smashing a racquet in frustration, complaining of fatigue and losing to players she had never lost to before, yet she is still the favorite to claim her sixth title at Melbourne Park.While world No. 3 Simona Halep and Canada's Bouchard are keen to make the step up after reaching Grand Slam finals last year, twice champion Victoria Azarenka looms as possibly the biggest challenger to Williams and Sharapova.Azarenka has made at least the quarterfinals in four of the past five years, including back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013, but she will need a dose of luck and a return to form if she is to go deep in the tournament this year.She could face world No. 8 Caroline Wozniacki, who had to withdraw from Sydney this week with a wrist injury, in the second round before a potential quarterfinal with Williams.
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