Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Djokovic, Federer On Opposite Sides Of Australian Open Draw

Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki to attend the Australian Open draw Australian Open 2019: Andy Murray faces Roberto Bautista Agut in first round
Cassandra Castillo | 10 January, 2019, 18:18

Second-seeded Angelique Kerber, who won the Australian and U.S. Opens in 2016 and added the Wimbledon title a year ago, is in the same half as Wozniacki and has 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens in her quarter.

Second seed Rafa Nadal, under an injury cloud after pulling out of the Brisbane International, will open against unseeded local James Duckworth.

Top seed Novak Djokovic, who like Federer is bidding for a record seventh title in Melbourne, will take on a qualifier.

This year, Wilander - a three-time champion at the Australian Open - says Federer's hopes of a 21st Grand Slam lie exclusively on the hard courts of Melbourne Park.

Should Djokovic, a six-time victor at Melbourne Park, beat an as-yet-unknown qualifier, he could face wild card Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the next match, with Denis Shapovalov a possible third-round opponent and Kei Nishikori potentially awaiting in the last eight.

The former world number one is playing at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2017 and a year on from hip surgery but looked laboured taking on his long-time rival under match conditions on Margaret Court Arena.

Marin Cilic, who lost last year's final to Federer, will begin his 2019 campaign against home hope Bernard Tomic.

More news: Oakland A's expect Kyler Murray to declare for 2019 National Football League draft

Konta is in a loaded top quarter of the draw that also includes world number one Simona Halep - who faces a rematch with her US Open conqueror Kaia Kanepi - Serena and Venus Williams, Garbine Mugurza and Karolina Pliskova.

Unseeded Estonian Kanepi knocked Halep out of the first round at Flushing Meadows past year, making the Romanian the first top seed to lose at that tournament's earliest stage. He defeated Tsonga in the 2008 Australian final.

"I can't believe it's been a year already", Dane Wozniacki said at the draw ceremony.

But defending champion Federer is especially good on the hard courts Down Under.

"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 victor Sloane Stephens in the second week.

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