None of the top four seeds wanted to be in the same draw as Venus Williams at the Australian Open.
Fourth seed Elena Dementieva ended up with the short straw and will hope to improve her 2-7 career record against the sixth-seeded Williams if they face each other.
An all-Williams clash between Venus and younger sister and No. 2 seed Serena could take place for the second Slam in a row, although in the semifinals this time following their quarterfinal at the U.S. Open, won by Serena.
With 2008 champion Maria Sharapova not in the event due to a rotator cuff injury that has not fully healed, the biggest challenges to the Williams sisters should come from top seed Jelena Jankovic, No. 5 Ana Ivanovic and No. 3 Dinara Safina.
Jankovic finished last year as world No. 1 despite having never won a Grand Slam and is desperate to add that achievement to her resumé. She defeated Serena Williams in the Melbourne quarterfinals last year, while fellow Serb Ivanovic disposed of Venus Williams the following day.
Safina, 22, looks poised for a serious assault on the No. 1 ranking this year but has often struggled in Australia, never making it past the third round. This year she faces a tough potential quarterfinal opponent in Ivanovic.
As ever, the scheduling in Australia could be crucial to the hopes of the leading players. Either performing through the sweltering heat that Melbourne often throws up this time of year or being forced to play deep into the night at an evening session tests the recovery powers of the game's elite.
Yahoo! Sports prediction
Semifinals: Jankovic beats Ivanovic, Serena Williams beats Venus Williams
Final: Serena Williams beats Jankovic
- Serena Williams