Every Wednesday this year we'll be taking a look at the WTA Rising Stars who've been making an impact on the WTA. This week, Chris Oddo looks at the ones who made noise in Melbourne.
WTA Staff

The WTA's No.1 and No.2 players met in the final of this year's Australian Open, but before we arrived at the title match a talented, diverse group of youngsters made big waves Down Under. Here's a list of the WTA Rising Stars that were shining at the Happy Slam:

Shining Bright:
Madison Keys (USA): For the Rock Island, Illinois native, being a teenager never seemed so sweet. Coached by Hall of Famer and three-time major champion Lindsay Davenport, Keys was playing in her final major as a teenager, and blitzed her way to her first career Grand Slam semifinal in Australia, notching a colossal upset of fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova in the third round in what was a jaw-dropping display of power tennis.

"She is a young girl. She can be Top 10 for sure," a shell-shocked Kvitova said of Keys, who finds herself at a career-high No.20 in the rankings this week.

After Serena Williams ended Keys' run in the semifinals, she had nothing but good things to say about the young American. "I think she can be the best in the world," Williams said. "The way she played today I definitely think she has potential to be No.1 and win Grand Slams. It's exciting to see."

With Davenport in her corner, Keys appears to have acquired a very clear vision of what she needs to do to win. Call it maturity. Call it a game plan, or a guiding light. Whatever it is, it worked for Keys in Australia.

Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP): Playing in her first Australian Open as a seed, Muguruza reached the round of 16 for the second consecutive time and took the first set from Serena Williams when she got there. Not surprisingly, 19-time Grand Slam champion Williams came away impressed with the 21-year-old. "I had to play the best match of the tournament or else I was going to be out," she said after battling past the Spaniard. "I think she was just hitting winners like left and right. Every shot I hit, she basically hit a winner on. So I had to change my approach."

Making Noise:
Caroline Garcia (FRA): Lean, athletic and explosive, Caroline Garcia stood toe-to-toe with seventh-seeded Eugenie Bouchard for a set in the third round in Melbourne. Though she fizzled in that match, the Frenchwoman cracks the Top 30 in the rankings for the first time this week.

Carina Witthoeft: Never having won a match at a major before, 19-year-old Witthoeft burst onto the Grand Slam scene with a stunning first round upset of 17th-seeded Carla Suárez Navarro in Australia, en route to a third round appearance. After claiming two 50K ITF Women's Circuit titles in the second half of 2014, the Hamburg native is looking like she could be the next in a long line of German talent.

Elina Svitolina (UKR): Currently perched at a career-high ranking of No.26 in the world, 20-year-old Svitolina took a set from Serena Williams in the third round at Melbourne. The only players to have defeated the Odessa, Ukraine native thus far in 2015 are Williams and Maria Sharapova.

Océane Dodin (FRA): The 18-year-old made the most of her Australian Open wildcard by upsetting World No.40 Alison Riske in her first career Grand Slam match. Though she's a raw talent, what she lacks in experience she makes up for with attitude. "I don't fear anyone out there, and I don't say that just to outwit people," Dodin said in an interview with journalist Carole Bouchard. "Sure, if you face Serena Williams, you have to be impressed, but I don't see why you should fear people in sports."