Defending champions Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic were in attendance at Melbourne Park for the draw for the 2016 Australian Open

Djokovic and Murray face talented teens



Originally published on 15/01/16 00:00

Djokovic, chasing a sixth title Down Under will equal Roy Emerson’s all-time record with victory this year. His first opponent, who he will face on Monday, is Hyeon Chung, who was voted the ATP’s Most Improved Player in 2015. Ranked No.51 the 19-year-old Korean won his first Grand Slam match at last year’s US Open.

A likely quarter-final opponent is Kei Nishikori and a possible match up against Roger Federer would make an enticing semi-final. Federer’s route to the later rounds starts with a first round clash against Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvilli and could include matches against Alexandr Dolgopolov, Grigor Dimitrov, David Goffin in the fourth round and possibly Marin Cilic, Nick Kyrgios or Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals.

In the bottom half of the draw Rafael Nadal has a potentially tricky opener against Fernando Verdasco and a possible semi-final against Andy Murray, although Stan Wawrinka could be a formidable quarter-final opponent. Andy Murray opens his campaign on Tuesday with a match against Alexandr Zverev. Murray defeated the German, the youngest man in the Top 100 at the Hopman Cup.

With three Australians in his quarter Murray could face Bernard Tomic in the fourth round, not to mention David Ferrer in the quarters before a semi-final with former champions Wawrinka or Nadal. Briton Kyle Edmund plays Damir Dzumhur. In qualifying Dan Evans faces American Bjorn Fratangelo on Saturday for a place in the main draw.

Two former finalists, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2008) and Marcos Baghdatis (2006) wil meet in the first round.

Projected quarter-final matches

Novak Djokovic [1] v Kei Nishikori [7]

Roger Federer [3] v Tomas Berdych [6]

Š— Rafael Nadal [5] v Stan Wawrinka [4]

David Ferrer [8] v Andy Murray [2]

In the women’s draw Serena Williams, in the hunt for a seventh Australian Open crown, faces Camila Giorgi in the first round. World No.35 Giorgi is the highest ranked unseeded player in the draw. World No.1 Williams, who has not played a WTA match since the US Open, could also play friend Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round and Maria Sharapova in the quarters. Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova are possible semi-final opponents.

In the bottom half of the draw, No. 2 seed Simona Halep plays a qualifier in the first round and could meet Venus Williams, who is playing in her 69th career Grand Slam draw, in the quarter-finals and Garbine Muguruza in the semi-finals.

Briton Heather Watson, in the top half of the draw meets World no. 84 Timea Babos in the first round while Johanna Konta in the bottom half faces eighth seed Venus Williams. 

Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka was drawn in the bottom half, avoiding world No.1 Williams, Sharapova, Kvitova and the in-form Radwanska. Azarenka, who appears to be back to top form after three years of injury struggles, is seeded No.14. However, with concerns over the fitness of most of the top seeds, Azarenka is one of the favourites for the title. She could face Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza in the fourth round and in the last eight Angelique Kerber, who she beat in the final of last week’s Brisbane International.

Projected quarter-final matches
Serena Williams [1] v Maria Sharapova [5]
Agnieszka Radwanska [4] v Petra Kvitova [6]
Garbine Muguruza [3] v Angelique Kerber [7]
Simona Halep [2] v Venus Wiliams [8]


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