Tennis: Australian Open women's penpix

Penpix for the world's top four women ahead of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park, where the first Grand Slam of the 2015 season starts on Monday:

SERENA WILLIAMS (USA)

World ranking: 1

Birthdate: September 26, 1981

Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, USA

Residence: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA

Height: 5ft 9in (1.75m)

Weight: 155lbs (70kg)

Plays: Right-handed

Turned pro: 1995

Coach: Richard Williams/Patrick Mouratoglou

Career titles: 64

Grand Slam singles titles: 18

Career prize money: $63,500,779

Best Australian Open result: Champion (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010)

The evergreen American, 33, has won five of her 18 Grand Slam titles in Australia and is short-priced favourite to claim a sixth this year after winning seven WTA titles in 2014, including the US Open. Despite some erratic early season form in the Hopman Cup, Williams has a combination of power and intensity when on song that is perfectly suited to the Melbourne Park cauldron.

MARIA SHARAPOVA (RUS)

World ranking: 2

Birthdate: April 19, 1987

Birthplace: Nyagan, Russia

Residence: Bradenton, Florida, USA

Height: 6ft 2in (1.88m)

Weight: 130lbs (59kg)

Plays: Right-handed

Turned pro: 2001

Coach: Sven Groeneveld

Career singles titles: 34

Grand Slam singles titles: 5

Career prize money: $32,730,228

Best Australian Open result: Champion (2008)

The glamorous Russian remains the biggest earner in women's sport and will again be a star attraction in Melbourne, where she has reached the final three times, winning in 2008. The 27-year-old enjoyed a strong 2014, finally overcoming a nagging shoulder injury to claim her fifth Grand Slam at the French Open. Appears full of confidence after starting 2015 with a convincing win in the Brisbane International final over Ana Ivanovic.

SIMONA HALEP (ROM)

World ranking: 3

Born: September 27, 1991

Birthplace: Constanta, Romania

Residence: Constanta, Romania

Height: 5ft, 6in (1.68m)

Weight: 132lbs (60kg)

Plays: Right-handed

Turned pro: 2006

Coach: Victor Ionita/Thomas Hogstedt

Career singles titles: 9

Grand Slam singles titles: 0

Career prize money: $6,670,571

Best Australian Open result: Quarter-final (2014)

The hard-hitting 23-year-old is looking to build on a breakthrough season in 2014, when she reached the French Open final and the semi-finals at Wimbledon. The Romanian has hired Swiss Thomas Hogstedt -- former mentor to Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki and Li Na -- as a coaching consultant for the Australian Open and opened her 2015 season with a blistering win in the Shenzhen Open for her ninth WTA title.

PETRA KVITOVA (CZE)

World ranking: 4

Born: March 8, 1990

Birthplace: Bilovec, Czech Republic

Residence: Monte Carlo

Height: 6ft (1.82m)

Weight: 154lbs (70kg)

Plays: Left-handed

Turned pro: 2006

Coach: David Kotyza

Career singles titles: 14

Grand Slam singles titles: 2

Career prize money: $17,132,188

Best Australian Open result: Semi-final (2012)

Kvitova was thrust back into the limelight with her second career Wimbledon triumph last year but needs to improve at other Grand Slams to avoid being seen as a grass court specialist. Has only advanced beyond the second round once in five appearances at the Australian Open and a first-round exit last year suggests she still struggles on the hard surfaces of Melbourne Park.

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