• AFP-Jiji

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Ash Barty is the hot favorite to win her home Australian Open for the first time when it begins on Monday, but even with Serena Williams absent the world No. 1 faces threats from all angles.

For the first time in a quarter of a century the first Grand Slam of the year will not feature either of the Williams sisters. Serena would have been pursuing a record-equaling 24th major crown but she is not fit.

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