Picking a grand slam winner is never an easy task but due to the competitiveness on the WTA Tour, the Australian Open really is wide open.
Over the past two years there have been eight different winners of the major women's tournaments, starting with Serena Williams' 23rd grand slam title in 2017 and finishing with Naomi Osaka's triumph at Flushing Meadows.
All of the former champions will be in action in Melbourne next week – injury permitting – and are likely to fill the top sections of the betting market.
However, if history has taught us anything it is to expect the unexpected at grand slams, so seeing a ninth different champion should not be discounted.
So who could realistically challenge the likes of Serena, Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber for the title at Melbourne Park? We take a look at five contenders.
Seven days until the best in the world give it everything they've got pic.twitter.com/A0aJ0JRBMo— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 6, 2019
Svitolina came into 2019 on the back of the biggest win of her career at the WTA Finals, a fitting end to a year that saw her finish inside the world's top five for the first time.
The 24-year-old has picked up valuable "big-match experience" in the last two years, winning all four of her Premier 5 finals – including the Internationali d'Italia against Halep in May.
Her successes in Singapore and Rome were among four titles in 2018 – she also won in Brisbane and Dubai, while she secured her best Melbourne finish as she reached the last eight.
She suffered a surprise defeat at the Brisbane International earlier this month as she was beaten by Aliaksandra Sasnovich, but Svitolina remains a strong bet to go far over the next fortnight.
When the pre season is FINALY OVER .. and you are all packed and ready to go Byeeeeee pic.twitter.com/0SfffKUBSF— Elina Svitolina (@ElinaSvitolina) December 26, 2018
Victory at the Brisbane International gave Pliskova a superb start to 2019 and she will hope it can continue in Melbourne – where she has been a quarter-finalist in the last two years.
Pliskova has been in the world's top-10 for the past three seasons but breaking through to win a grand slam remains something she has yet to do.
Her qualities from the baseline undoubtedly make her an Australian Open contender, but she must find some consistency if she is to become the ninth different champion in a row.
Since reaching the final of the 2017 US Open final, Keys has been a consistent grand slam performer but taking that final step to be crowned a champion continues to elude her.
Keys is one of a number of promising American players on the WTA Tour at the moment, joining the likes of Sloane Stephens, Danielle Collins and Coco Vandeweghe in stepping out of Serena Williams' shadow.
Stephens denied Keys her first grand slam title at Flushing Meadows, though Melbourne has also been a happy hunting ground, reaching the semis in 2015 and the last-eight 12 months ago.
Injuries hampered her progress in 2018 but expect her to be knocking on the door in the latter stages of the competition.
While the other names on this list have yet to taste grand slam success, Kvitova already has two Wimbledon crowns.
But her successes came before the horrific hand injuries she suffered in December 2016 trying to fend off robbers in her flat.
Having returned to the Tour, even being considered as a grand slam contender is a huge achievement, but Kvitova's inclusion is not a sympathy one.
While results may not have gone her way all the time, Kvitova still shows moments of quality that other players can only dream of and if she can find her rhythm a deep run in Melbourne should not be ruled out.
Sabalenka enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2018, the 20-year-old surging up the rankings after 43 wins on the WTA Tour.
Her performance in Wuhan was a particular highlight as she raised her level to see off Carla Suarez Navarro, Dominika Cibulkova, Ashleigh Barty and Svitolina on her way to the title.
Wins over Garbine Muguruza and Caroline Garcia followed in Beijing, and Sabalenka has already got her hands on some silverware this year in Shenzhen.
She may have lost to Kvitova in Sydney but it was a battling display, and with her power and aggression the Belarusian could be a dark horse in Melbourne.
23. Januar 2019
|Maradona hopes Sala will be found alive|
|Djokovic will not discuss potential Nadal showdown yet|
|A Federer-Nadal double? Even historic scalps may not be enough for Tsitsipas|
|Raonic to assess knee injury, hopes to avoid surgery|
|Barcelona right to fine ´complicated´ Dembele, says Ter Stegen|
|Higuain and Piatek on the move on busy day for Milan|
|Philippe and Vince humble the Hurricanes|
|Nishikori: I couldn´t beat anybody on one leg|
|Boateng poised for debut as Barcelona axe Suarez|
|Shami sets record in crushing win after sun stops play|
|Sala search focused on possible use of life raft|
|Pouille exceeds own expectations with run to Aus Open semis|
|Nishikori retirement sees Djokovic through to semi-finals|
|A golden boy, a guy you want to love - Delecroix pays emotional tribute to Sala|
|Richardson, Patterson to make Australia debuts against Sri Lanka|
|Police resume search for missing Sala plane|
|Pouille upsets Raonic to reach Australian Open semis|
|Dunk sees Stars past Strikers|
|How Serena gave up 5-1 lead – the key moments of loss to Pliskova|
|Pliskova enjoys ´best comeback´ after stunning Serena|
|Serena not blaming ankle injury for Australian Open loss|
|Mavericks capitalise on Clippers´ turnovers, pick up win in Smith´s return|
|Pliskova saves four match points to stun Serena with comeback win|
|Anthony ´can only make´ a team better, says Iverson|
|Henry more worried about Monaco´s future than his own|
|Osaka powers past Svitolina in Melbourne|
|Harden on Anthony trade: It kind of sucks that it didn´t work out|
|Redskins remain ´optimistic´ QB Alex Smith will play again|
|Patriots coach Belichick says Rams´ Donald is ´pretty much unblockable´|
|PSG fined €100,000 by LFP over player-recruitment practices|
|I´m not his father - Guardiola demands Mendy matures|
|Sykes record in vain as Banvit claim victory|
22. Januar 2019
|Usain Bolt calls time on football career|
|Otamendi not happy at Man City, says Guardiola|
|Workaholic Woods learning to rest as he prepares for 2019 debut|
|Henry´s Monaco dumped out of Coupe de France|
|Qatar can win Asian Cup, says Sanchez|
|Tim Howard to retire following 2019 MLS season|
|Koscielny backs Bellerin to return from injury ´stronger than before´|
|Chiefs fire DC Bob Sutton after AFC Championship loss to Patriots|
|Reyes returns to Spain with second-tier strugglers Extremadura|
|Emiliano Sala: Profile of Cardiff City striker missing after joining from Nantes|
|Messi rested for Sevilla trip, Boateng set for debut|
|Nuno fined over pitch celebration in Leicester win|
|Nadal unfazed by another Next Gen opponent in Tsitsipas|
|Ulster hand lifetime ban to spectator after Zebo abuse|
|Phehlukwayo´s career-best day inspires Proteas against Pakistan|
|Bournemouth pounce for Brentford´s Mepham|
|You say all signings are controversial – Valverde defends Boateng arrival|
|Search for missing Sala plane suspended|
|Kohli and Williamson display mutual respect as India and Black Caps prepare for battle|
|Qatar 1 Iraq 0: Al Rawi free-kick books quarter-final spot|
|Ba joins Adebayor and Robinho at Istanbul Basaksehir|
|BREAKING NEWS: Tottenham´s Alli out until March with hamstring injury|
|Fit-again Joseph added to England squad|
|It is very, very serious for us - Tuchel wants midfielder in January window|
|Lakers expect Rajon Rondo back Thursday as LeBron James continues rehab|
|Atletico Madrid boosted as Koke thigh injury revealed to be minor|
|South Korea 2 Bahrain 1 (after extra time): Kim Jin-su seals quarter-final spot|
|AC Milan confirm Zapata thigh injury|
|I miss him a lot - Guardiola confirms ´clever´ Mendy back in Man City squad|
|Tiafoe wants LeBron meeting after run to Australian Open quarters|
|Cardiff continue to ´pray´ for Sala|
|West Ham fined over Burnley clash chaos|
|Knicks star Enes Kanter frustrated by reduced role|
|Kvitova getting back to her best, says Barty|
|Kvitova revels in first semi of ´second career´|
|Messi´s the best player in every world – Boateng dismisses past Real Madrid comments|
|Thunder frustrations continue against Renegades|
|Alonso vows to clear name in tax fraud case|