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Australian Open – first Grand Slam of 2018

 

Highlights of men’s draw  

Roger Federer found out how difficult defending his title could be after landing in the same half as six time champion Novak Djokovic.

Federer said “ I don’t like usually going to the draws because they freak me out. I don’t want to know who I play other than just seeing the sheet at the end and knowing who my first opponent is”.

First up, the 36 year old Swiss will play Ajaz Bedene of Slovenia. He also has no.7 ranked David Goffin, Juan Martin del Potro, Sam Querrey, and Milos Raonic in his quarter.

Djokovic aiming for a record 7th Australian Open title but is seeded 14th as he returns from the six months right elbow injury. Djokovic is in the quarter as the Zverev brothers. Fourth seeded Alexander could meet older brother and no. 32 seeded Mischa in the 3rd round 2014 winner Stan Wawrinka and no. 5 Dominic Thiem. Rafael Nadal returns from six months on the sidelines  is seeded no. 2 as he bids for a 20th Grand Slam singles title.

Djokovic starting at no.2 but losing the second round upset at the Australian Open and not playing again after Wimbledon. It was the first year since 2009 that Djokovic didn’t reach at least one Grand Slam final. He delayed his return until two exhibition appearances this week.

 

Top ranked Nadal will open against Victor Estrella Burgos, a potential 4th round match against John Isner, No.3 Grigor Dimitrov in his half of the draw. Rafael Nadal winning the French Open and U.S. Open, splitting the Grand Slam honors with Federer for the year.

Highlights of women’s draw

Serena opted not to defend her title after giving birth to her first child. her sister, Venus who lost the all Williams Australian Open final last year have a tough opener against Belinda Bencic who played with Federer to win Hopman Cup for Switzerland and is also in a same quarter with US open winner Sloane Stephens. Top ranked Simona Halep opens against the Australian wild card Destanee Aiava also has a potential 2nd round match against 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard and is in same half as Garbine Muruguza the Wimbledon champion. 3rd seeded Muguruza with a difficult quarter containing former Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova Angelique Kerber and U.S Open finalist Madison Keys. Sharapova, who won 2008 Australian title, reached 3 other finals at Melbourne Park, missed last year’s tournament due to 15 months of suspension after failing doping test in 2016.

 

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