Title favorites face tricky early schedule at Australian Open

Title favorites face tricky early schedule at Australian Open

In an interview to The Times of India, the three-time Grand Slam victor Stan Wawrinka commented on the Big Three's dominance. Things could get much tougher quickly, with a potential second-round meeting against wild-card entry Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who he beat in the 2008 Australian final, and with Denis Shapovalov in the same section.

This year, Wilander - a three-time champion at the Australian Open - says Federer's hopes of a 21st Grand Slam lie exclusively on the hard courts of Melbourne Park.

Three-time grand slam victor Andy Murray has a tough clash with 22nd-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut as he returns from a hip injury.

Defending champion Federer is in the bottom half of the draw with No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal.

The pair have met four times in Australian Open finals, with the Serb winning them all.

Men's top seed Djokovic, who was defending his title when he lost to Istomin, will first meet a qualifier in his bid for a record seventh Melbourne title and third Grand Slam crown in succession following wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

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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.

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.

Serena Williams, who is seeded 16th, faces fellow mother Tatjana Maria of Germany in her first competitive match since her tempestuous US Open final loss to Naomi Osaka.

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

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. Halep has a tough opening encounter against Kaia Kanepi and a possible third rounder against Venus Williams. "I'm just enjoying every minute of it".

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