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All top players set for Australian Open in January

December 5, 2018
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Romania's Simona Halep clenches her fist after defeating Spain's Garbine Muguruza during their semifinal match at the French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 7, 2018. Halep won 6-1, 6-4. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australian Open officials say the world’s top 102 women and top 101 men have confirmed they will compete at the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of 2019.

World No. 1 Simona Halep heads up the women’s field and Novak Djokovic, seeking his record seventh Australian Open title, is the No. 1-ranked male player.

The tournament begins Jan. 14 at Melbourne Park with Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki as singles defending champions.

Serena Williams, ranked No. 16, plans to make her return to Melbourne Park for the first time since winning in 2017 while eight weeks’ pregnant with baby Alexis Olympia.

Tournament officials said Wednesday that Andy Murray, who is returning after an injury layoff, has entered using a protected ranking.

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