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Serena takes top seed for Australian Open

Melbourne, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - The women's draw for the 2014 Australian Open was released Thursday, with Serena Williams securing the top seed, while two-time reigning champion Victoria Azarenka was named the second seed for the season's first major.

Williams, a four-time Australian Open champ, took home two of her 17 career major titles last year, claiming both the French Open and U.S. Open.

Williams will begin her quest for a fifth title Down Under and first since 2010 against Australian wild card Ashleigh Barty, while Azarenka's road to a three-peat will start against Sweden's Johanna Larsson.

Maria Sharapova, Li Na and Agnieszka Radwanska round out the top-5 seeds. Sharapova claimed the Australian Open crown in 2008, while Li finished runner- up here twice, including last year against Azarenka.

Radwanska, meanwhile, has yet to win a major tournament and has failed to make it past the quarterfinals in seven Australian Open appearances.

Czech Petra Kvitova, a 2012 semifinalist here, was awarded the sixth seed, while Italian Sara Errani and Serb Jelena Jankovic followed as the seventh and eight seeds, respectively.

German Angelique Kerber claimed the ninth seed, while 2011 Australian Open semifinalist Caroline Wozniacki secured the final seed in the top-10.

Seven-time major champion and 2003 Australian Open runner-up Venus Williams was not given a seed in her 14th appearance at this tournament. She will open play against 22nd-seeded Ekaterina Makarova.

Play begins Monday at Melbourne Park.