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Djokovic faces qualifier at Australian Open, Federer takes on Istomin

10 January, 2019, 18:18 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Rafael Nadal

"The Australian Open hasn't been the quickest of hard courts in the past couple of years, and if I was the tournament director, there is no way they wouldn't keep it that way because it favours [Nick] Kyrgios, most Australians, and definitely Federer".

Serena Williams already has won seven Australian Open singles titles, and is a strong contender to add another after skipping last year's tournament while on leave after having a baby.

He will start his drive to make history against a yet-to-be-decided qualifier and could meet France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round.

The first Grand Slam of 2019 sees world number one Novak Djokovic aiming for his third consecutive slam title, and seventh Australian Open. Eighth-seeded Kei Nishikori, who opened the season with a title in Brisbane, is a potential quarterfinal rival and No. 4 Alexander Zverev looms as a semifinal opponent if both players advance that far.

In the women's draw, Johanna Konta begins her campaign against Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic, who she lost to in Brisbane last week.

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Djokovic, Federer on opposite sides of Australian Open draw
Top seed Novak Djokovic , who like Federer is bidding for a record seventh title in Melbourne , will take on a qualifier. And with No. 6 Marin Cilic in the same quarter, there's potential for a rematch of the 2018 final a few rounds early.


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"I'm so close, I'll give it a go, " Federer said.

The Spanish 22nd seed defeated Novak Djokovic on his way to the title in Doha last week while concerns about Murray's fitness grew as he struggled through a practice match against world number one Djokovic at Melbourne Park on Thursday. If it would happen defending this title, I would gladly accept it.

Federer is a six-time champion in Melbourne, and the 37-year-old is targeting a third-straight victory in the opening major of the season.

A highlight first-round clash will see Australia's unseeded Nick Kyrgios up against Canada's big-serving 16th seed Milos Raonic, with the victor facing either Stan Wawrinka or Ernests Gulbis. 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.

After winning the Australian Open past year, Federer skipped the French Open for the third time in a row before losing in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the fourth round at the US Open. For me it's just taking it day by day, doing the right things, taking even better care of my body.

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