Tuesday, 20 August, 2019

Murray suffers Djokovic mauling in Australian Open practice

Novak Djokovic Australian Open 2019: Andy Murray faces Roberto Bautista Agut in first round
Cary Erickson | 10 January, 2019, 18:16

Should Djokovic, a six-time victor at Melbourne Park, beat an as-yet-unknown qualifier, he could face wild card Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the next match, with Denis Shapovalov a possible third-round opponent and Kei Nishikori potentially awaiting in the last eight.

"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".

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.

Top seed Novak Djokovic, who like Federer is bidding for a record seventh title in Melbourne, will take on a qualifier.

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

Serena Williams handed tough draw in quest for record 24th Slam
At the draw ceremony, Woznaicki spoke of her anticipation at returning to Melbourne Park, before paying tribute to Williams. Halep, however, may be reluctant to look beyond the first round, having drawn her U.S.

"I can't believe it's been a year already", Dane Wozniacki said at the draw ceremony. Local hope John Millman, who dumped Roger Federer out of the fourth round at last year's U.S. Open, is no slouch either as a potential second round match-up for Murray, with 10th-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov another likely roadblock to the last 16. "If I made 100 at the Australian I'd take it, I'd gladly accept it - and I'll give it all I have". Murray played at the season-opening Brisbane International last week, where he won his first-round match against James Duckworth but lost in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev in the second, limping between points and admitting he's still dealing with his troublesome right hip.

Williams will face Tatjana Maria in the first round, and could meet either Genie Bouchard or Peng Shaui in the second.

One more here would see him follow Jimmy Connors as the only man in the Open era to hit three figures, as well as taking him past Djokovic and Roy Emerson at Melbourne Park. "I feel like these courts are suited for me, so it's incredible to be back". Not just physically, but also mentally, to see that I could beat Grigor Dimitrov twice, he was top-10 at that time.

After winning the Australian Open previous 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.