Serena Williams's bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title and eighth Australian Open will kick off against German world number 71 Tatjana Maria.

The American great, beaten by Naomi Osaka in the 2018 U.S. Open final after a fiery tirade against the chair umpire, faces a tough run to the quarter-finals, with top seed and last year's finalist Simona Halep a possible fourth round encounter.

Halep, however, may be reluctant to look beyond the first round, having drawn her U.S. Open nemesis Kaia Kanepi.

Unseeded Estonian Kanepi knocked Halep out of the first round at Flushing Meadows last year, making the Romanian the first top seed to lose at that tournament's earliest stage.

Venus Williams, defeated by younger sister Serena in the 2017 Melbourne final, also looms as a possible third round opponent for Halep.

Fourth seed Osaka faces Poland's Magda Linette first up and may need to battle past twice champion Victoria Azarenka in the third round.

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, who broke through for her maiden Grand Slam title with victory over Halep in last year's final, is in line to face former winner Maria Sharapova in a mouth-watering third round showdown.

"I can't believe it's been a year already," Dane Wozniacki said at the draw ceremony. "To finally get that (title) here was so special, it's the happy slam."

Second seed and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber, bidding for a fourth Grand Slam title, will open against Slovenian Polona Hercog, with a possible quarter-final against 2017 U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens in the second week.