Australian victory would complete Russian sweep
The Australian Open escaped the Russian revolution that swept women's tennis last year but the first Grand Slam of 2005 is in the firing line this time.
Russian women won the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open singles crowns. Victory at this month's Australian Open would complete a Russian sweep.
Weight of numbers alone suggests the Russians hold all the aces this year. Four of the top six women in the world are Russian and there are another three lurking in the top 15.
Heading the list is French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, currently ranked three in the world. Just behind her is Maria Sharapova, the Wimbledon champion, and Svetlana Kuznetsova, the US Open champion.
Elena Dementieva is ranked sixth in the world. She has yet to win a Grand Slam but did reach the French and US Open finals and hopes to make her breakthrough at Melbourne.