Australian Open 2019 draw: Halep, Venus, Serena land in loaded top section

Hope Soto
January 11, 2019

He has the potential of a second-round meeting against wildcard Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with a potential quarter-final showdown against Kei Nishikori.

MELBOURNE-Double defending champion Roger Federer will start his bid for a hat-trick of Australian Open titles next week against unseeded Uzbek Denis Istomin, who caused a huge upset when he defeated Novak Djokovic in the second round two years ago.

Cilic has Andy Murray, who is coming back from a long-term hip injury, in his section.

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

Last year's semi-finalist Kyle Edmund, seeded 13th, looms as a possible fourth round match-up for the Spaniard, who could then face big-serving South African Kevin Anderson in the quarter-finals if the draw follows the seedings, and potentially Federer in the semis.

Third-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who won her first Grand Slam title here previous year after a tough final against Halep, is in the same section as Maria Sharapova and has Petra Kvitova at the top of her quarter.

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A hard first-round draw for Murray sees the world No 230 face 22nd seed Bautista Agut, though the five-time Australian Open finalist will be buoyed by his 100 per cent record against the Spaniard.

All the active grand slam winners in the men's game are over 30 and one of the most intriguing storylines will be whether the new generation can finally break the stranglehold.

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

Defending champion Wozniacki, who broke through for her maiden Grand Slam title with victory over Halep in last year's final, is in line to face former victor Maria Sharapova in a mouth-watering third round showdown.

Kerber will open against Slovenia's Polona Hercog, while No.3 seed Wozniacki will face Alison van Uytvanck first up to begin her title defense. For me it's just taking it day by day, doing the right things, taking even better care of my body.

British number two Heather Watson takes on 31st seed Petra Martic from Croatia while Katie Boulter, playing in her first slam main draw outside of Wimbledon, meets experienced Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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