Halep faces wildcard in Australian Open Round 1
Melbourne - Romania's world No 1 Simona Halep will face Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava as her first round opponent at the Australian Open, while on Thursday's draw could also see her go up against Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals.
Halep, who has been beaten in the first round four times in Melbourne, must first overcome Aiava if she is to realise her dream of going on to win a first Grand Slam title.
This year's Australian Open field is wide open following the decision by 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams not to defend her title in Melbourne, saying she was not quite ready to compete after giving birth in September.
Last year's British quarter-finalist Johanna Konta is in the same quarter as Halep and faces American Madison Brengle first up.
Danish former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, the second seed after her resurgence in 2017 when she reached eight finals, opens against Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania in the bottom half of the draw.
Wozniacki is projected to face French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the quarters.
Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza is in the same half of the draw as Halep and takes on France's Jessika Ponchet in the opening round.
Muguruza, seeded three, could face another Frenchwoman, Caroline Garcia, in the quarters.
The 2008 champion Maria Sharapova, who on Monday moved back into the world's top 50 for the first time since returning from a 15-month doping ban, is unseeded and takes on 47th-ranked German Tatjana Maria in the first round in the same section of the draw.
Evergreen 37-year-old Venus Williams, who last won a Slam in 2008, is seeded five and has a first-round encounter with Swiss Belinda Bencic, who teamed up with Roger Federer to win the mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth last week.
Williams could face Ukraine's fourth seed Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals.
Women's draw for the 2018 Australian Open:
Simona Halep (ROM x1) v Destanee Aiava (AUS)
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) v Oceane Dodin (FRA)
Lauren Davis (USA) v Jana Cepelova (SVK)
Andrea Petkovic (GER) v Petra Kvitova (CZE x27)
Ashleigh Barty (AUS x18) v Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)
Camila Giorgi (ITA) v Qualifier
Naomi Osaka (JPN) v Kristina Kucova (SVK)
Ons Jabeur (TUN) v Elena Vesnina (RUS x16)
Johanna Konta (GBR x9) v Madison Brengle (USA)
Qualifier v Margarita Gasparyan (RUS)
Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) v Richel Hogenkamp (NED)
Kristie Ahn (USA) v Barbora Strycova (CZE x20
Lucie Safarova (CZEx 29) v Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS)
Sorana Cirstea (ROM) v Zarina Diyas (KAZ)
Lizette Cabrera (AUS) v Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA)
Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) v Karolina Pliskova (CZE x6)
Garbine Muguruza (ESP x3) v Jessika Ponchet (FRA)
Hsieh Su-wei (TPE) v Qualifier
Natalia Vikhlyantseva (RUS) v Lesia Tsurenko (UKR)
Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) v Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x26)
Angelique Kerber (GER x21) v Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER)
Nao Hibino (JPN) v Donna Vekic (CRO)
Tatjana Maria (GER) v Maria Sharapova (RUS)
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) v Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x14)
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA x11) v Ana Bogdan (ROM)
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) v Heather Watson (GBR)
Polona Hercog (SLO) v Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS)
Wang Qiang (CHN) v Madison Keys (USA x17)
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO x28) v Shelby Rogers (USA)
Christina McHale (USA)v Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR)
Kurumi Nara (JPN) v Marketa Vondrousova (CZE)
Carina Witthoeft (GER) v Caroline Garcia (FRA x8)
Venus Williams (USA x5) v Belinda Bencic (SUI)
Qualifier v Johanna Larsson (SWE)
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) v Petra Martic (CRO)
Irina-Camelia Bego (ROM) v Ekaterina Makarova (RUS x31)
Daria Gavrilova (AUS x23) v Qualifier
Qualifier v Elise Mertens (BEL)
Alize Cornet (FRA) v Wang Xinyu (CHN)
Sofia Kenin (USA) v Julia Goerges (GER x12)
Sloane Stephens (USA x13) v Zhang Shuai (CHN)
Qualifier v Pauline Parmentier (FRA)
Jennifer Brady (USA) v Magda Linette (POL)
Qualifier v Daria Kasatkina (RUS x22)
Peng Shuai (CHN x25) v Qualifier
Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) v Olivia Rogowska (AUS)
Maria Sakkari (GRE) v Katerina Siniakova (CZE)
Qualifier v Elina Svitolina (UKR x4)
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x7) v Francesca Schiavone (ITA)
Duan Ying-Ying (CHN) v Mariana Duque-Marino (COL)
Monica Niculescu (ROM) v Mona Barthel (GER)
Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) v Anett Kontaveit (EST x32)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x24) v Kaia Kanepi (EST)
Samantha Stosur (AUS) v Monica Puig (PUR)
Carla Suarex-Navarro (ESP) v Qualifier
Timea Babos (HUN) v CoCo Vandeweghe (USA x10)
Anastasia Pavlychenkova (RUS x15) v Kateryna Kozlova (UKR)
Qualifier v Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR)
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) v Alison Riske (USA)
Taylor Townsend (USA) v Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK x19)
Kiki Bertens (NED x30) v Catherine Bellis (USA)
Nicole Gibbs (USA) v Qualifier
Jana Fett (CRO) v Misa Eguchi (JPN)
Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROM) v Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x2)