Sania seeded 31st at Australian Open

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Melbourne, Jan 11: Sania Mirza has been seeded No. 31 for the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, beginning on Monday in Melbourne.

Being seeded will help Sania avoid facing stronger opponents in the opening rounds. There were few surprises in the list released on Thursday with the seedings being based on the world rankings. Thus Roger Federer and Justine Henin are, expectedly, the top seeds. Spain"s Rafael Nadal, Serbia"s Novak Djokovic, Russia"s Nikolay Davydenko and Spain"s David Ferrer round out the top five in the men"s draw.

Belgian Henin is followed by Russia"s Svetlana Kuznetsova, Serbian pair Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic while Russia"s Maria Sharapova is ranked fifth.

Serena Williams, who was unseeded last year but beat Sharapova in the final, has been seeded seventh, one place ahead of sister Venus, who is Wimbledon champion.

The draw will be held on Friday.

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