Australian Open men’s hopefuls Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt have drawn horror first-round matchups, but fortunately for Australian tennis fans the country’s number one title chance Sam Stosur will have it a little easier.
Hewitt, the world No.88, will face eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic, who is coming off a win at last week’s Chennai Open, however the Serbian world No.9 enters the Open under an injury cloud. He was forced to withdraw from this week’s Kooyong Classic in Sydney (Hewitt plays Saturday in the Kooyong final against either Marcos Baghdatis or Juan Martin Del Potro) due to a wrist injury.
Tomic’s first-round opponent may be a little easier, but his overall run is nothing to smile about. Tomic faces clay court specialist, Argentinian Leonardo Mayer, the world No.72, in his opener, but will likely run into Roger Federer in the third round. The two met in the fourth round of last year’s Open in which Federer walked away with an easy win.
Stosur, notoriously bad on her home soil, has drawn Taiwanese 21-year-old Chang Kei-Chen (world No.86) who has never advanced past the second round at a grand slam. That’s good news for the ninth seed, but she hasn’t managed a win in any of her last four appearances in Australia. Stosur’s run is very good up until the fourth round where she will likely come across Chinese star Li Na.
Defending champs Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka joined for a media session ahead of the tournament on Friday, touring down the Yarra River with the 2012 trophies.
Djokovic’s chances of repeating appear very high. Last year’s finalist Rafael Nadal is still side-lined due to a various ailments and the Serbian world No.1 will also benefit from avoiding rivals Federer and Andy Murray, both drawn on the other side of the tournament.
Azarenka’s road to the final is much more difficult; she’ll need to defeat third seed Serena Williams, regarded as world’s best women’s player at the moment, in the semi-finals.
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