- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka has missed out on a seeding at the Australian Open after falling in the rankings in the first weeks of 2015.

No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 2 Maria Sharapova will be on opposite sides of the draw after their world rankings were reflected in the seedings for the first major of the year.

Former No. 1-ranked Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013 and reached two Grand Slam quarterfinals in 2014 during an injury-interrupted year, dropped from a No. 32 year-end ranking to No. 41 this week. Organizers of Grand Slam tournaments determine the 32 seeded players in their men’s and women’s draws, but rarely stray from the official WTA or ATP rankings in compiling the lists.

Foot and knee injuries restricted Azarenka to nine tournaments in 2014, and she finished outside the top 10 for the first time since 2008. Her first-round loss last week at the Brisbane International to Karolina Pliskova, after wasting two match points in the second set, cost her any chance of climbing back into the top 32 in the latest rankings.

China’s Li Na has retired and won’t be defending her Australian title. Dominika Cibulkova, the losing finalist last year at Melbourne Park, is seeded No. 11. Genie Bouchard, the 20-year-old Canadian who last year reached the semifinals at the Australian and French Opens before making the Wimbledon final, is seeded No. 7.

On the men’s side, Nos. 1-3 Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are all seeded ahead of defending men’s champion Stan Wawrinka, who is seeded No. 4.

U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan was seeded fifth, one spot ahead of three-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray.

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