Australian Open: Novak Djokovic Faces Qualifier, Roger Federer Takes On Denis Istomin

Doug Mendoza
January 10, 2019

World No 4 Alexander Zverev is in the same half and a blockbuster semi-final looms if both players advance that far.

Aiming for a third consecutive Australian championship, a 21st Grand Slam crown and a 100th career singles title, Federer will open against Denis Istomin.

Kyle Edmund, back at the scene of his semi-final appearance 12 months ago, was also given a hard opener at the year's first grand slam against former top-10 stalwart Tomas Berdych, who is unseeded following injury.

Later, he could face Federer, against whom he lost the tournament's final in 2017, or Croatia's Marin Cilic (6), who will play Australia's Bernard Tomic in the first round.

"So long as it's not too physical for Federer in the first four rounds, I would say he is as unsafe as he has been before".

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Murray opens against No. 22-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut.

Murray won only two games in an incomplete practice match with Djokovic at Melbourne Park, showing signs he's still not fully fit after spending most of the last 18 months off the tour.

The draw for the first Grand Slam of the season was made on Thursday and the top seeds could face some early tests of their credentials when play gets underway in Melbourne on Monday. Halep has drawn another first-round against Kaia Kanepi, who beat her at the same stage at last year's U.S. Open, and a possible third rounder against unseeded Venus Williams. "It was Muzza that showed me just how entertaining tennis really could be and for that I thank him with my whole heart".

Denmark's defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, who is battling health problems and poor form, is seeded three, one behind Germany's Angelique Kerber.

Other reports by GizPress

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