Considering the top level of talent that will be on display at the Australian Open, much of the tournament can be decided as soon as the draws are announced.
You never want to assume that any tennis player will win a match, but there are some overwhelming favorites who are likely to advance to the quarterfinals and beyond.
This year, Novak Djokovic is the favorite to win in Melbourne after taking the title in each of the last two years. Unsurprisingly, he has also been named the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Grand Slam (via AustralianOpen.com)
He has the talent and experience to dominate this tournament regardless of who is on the other side of the net.
For others, however, the seeding will go a long way in determining how far they are able to go in this difficult bracket.
These are the competitors who will need to pay the most attention when the draws are announced on Jan. 11.
No. 3 Andy Murray
It took winning the Olympics for Andy Murray to finally break through, but now he is playing like one of the top players in the world.
The Scottish star dominated Roger Federer in the Olympic final and then won his first Grand Slam with a victory over Novak Djokovic at the U.S. Open. Before that, Djokovic had won three straight Grand Slams on hard court.
This still makes the No. 1 player in the world extremely dangerous and someone you do not want to face until the finals.
While Federer is still one of the best players of all time, he has not had as much success on hard surfaces recently and would be a better matchup for Murray.
As the No. 3 seed, Murray should hope to be on the bottom half of the bracket to give him a chance to face Federer and possibly match up with Djokovic in what would likely be an entertaining final.
No. 2 Roger Federer
While Murray should want to face Federer in the semifinals, Federer should want to avoid this fate.
With Rafael Nadal not competing, there is a major drop between the third-seeded Murray and fourth seed David Ferrer.
The Spanish native is very impressive on clay, but he is inconsistent on other surfaces. In addition, he has never got past the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament in his career.
Federer had an impressive 2012 campaign after many thought his career was coming to an end. However, it will continue to get tougher for the Swiss player to keep winning tournaments.
A matchup against Ferrer in the semifinals would certainly make things easier as he attempts to at least reach the finals of this tournament.
No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro
The 2009 U.S. Open winner presents the best chance for someone outside the top there to win the Australian Open.
Juan Martin del Potro has missed some time due to injuries, but he finally appears to be back to his top form and ready to take on the big boys as he enters his prime.
He had a few good runs in 2012 and ended up winning four tournaments. In majors, however, he always ended up running into tough competition early.
In the Australian open, the No. 6 seed must hope that he gets a fortunate draw that does not force him to face one of the top players in the quarterfinals. If he gets lucky, Del Potro should be able to reach the semifinals for the first time in a Grand Slam tournament since 2009.
At that point, anything is possible with his skill as he will try to pull off an upset victory.
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