Australian Open 2019: Andy Murray suffers Novak Djokovic mauling in practice

Australian Open 2019: Andy Murray suffers Novak Djokovic mauling in practice

Australian Open 2019: Andy Murray suffers Novak Djokovic mauling in practice

Serena Williams, who won the Australian Open in 2017 while pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia, returns as the 16th-seeded player after missing last year's tournament.

Serena Williams already has seven Aussie titles, and is a strong contender to add another after skipping her title defense in 2018 while she was on leave after having a baby.

Serb Djokovic could then face a rematch of his 2008 final triumph over Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round, before a possible second week match-up against Japan's Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals.

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Aiming for a third consecutive Australian championship, a 21st Grand Slam crown and a 100th career singles title, Federer will open against Denis Istomin.

Federer's first-round test comes in the shape of Istomin, an Uzbek whom Federer has defeated in each of their six meetings, and they are in the same quarter of the draw as Andy Murray, who is unseeded and meets Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut first up. But being so close, I'll give it a go.

Second seeded Nadal begins against Australian James Duckworth, fourth seed Alexander Zverev faces Slovenian Aljaz Bedene while last year's runner-up Marin Cilic has a tricky encounter with Australian Bernard Tomic. If it would happen defending this title, I would gladly accept it.

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One of the most intriguing men's first-round matches features 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic against mercurial Australian Nick Kyrgios, who is unseeded after his ranking slid from 13 into the 50s, but has tour-level wins over Federer, Nadal and Djokovic to his credit.

He was bundled out of the Brisbane International warm-up last week in round two by Russia's Daniil Medvedev and headed straight to Melbourne to fit in some much-needed practice.

The draw for the first Grand Slam of the year took place on Thursday, as the likes of Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal learned what their potential paths to the trophy would look like. "I like to play attacking tennis, so I've come full circle". Not just physically, but also mentally, to see that I could beat Grigor Dimitrov twice, he was top-10 at that time.

Serena handed tough draw in quest for record Slam
Serena Williams , the 16th seed, will take on Tatjana Maria in her first match of the tournament. The LIVE telecast of Australian Open in India will be available on Sony ESPN/HD network.

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