Australian Open 2018 draw | Roger Federer starts title defence against Aljaz Bedene

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Australian Open 2018 draw | Roger Federer starts title defence against Aljaz Bedene

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SportsCafe Desk

01/11/2018

Australian Open draw has been announced and defending champion Roger Federer is pitted against Aljaz Bedene in the first round of the tournament while injury-return Novak Djokovic takes on America's Donald Young. Last year’s runner-up Rafael Nadal will open up against Victor Estrella Burgos.

The Australian Open 2018 draws are out. Roger Federer will begin his Australian Open title defence against Aljaz Bedene, with David Goffin, Milos Raonic and Juan Martin del Potro all lurking in his quarter. 

‘‘It’s great to be back. I don’t like normally going to draws, it freaks me out who I’m going to play. It was an amazing final [last year], and it’s great to be back here,” Federer had said ahead of the draw.

Federer will face tough competition for a place in the finals from former world number one Novak Djokovic, who is making his return after a long hiatus from the game due to a shoulder injury that kept him away from the spotlight during 2017. The No 14 seed opens his campaign against America’s Donald Young and is in line to meet Alexander Zverev in the fourth round. There is also a high possibility of him facing Federer in the later stages of the tournament.

Last year’s runner-up, Rafael Nadal, will kick-off his season against Victor Estrella Burgos, and has a favourable route to the second week of the first Slam of 2018 with Marin Cilic due to be his quarter-final opponent.

In other draws, Third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov will face a qualifier with Alexander Zverev, who is ranked fourth. In the absence of Andy Murray, Kyle Edmund remains the sole representative from the UK and will face US Open finalist Kevin Anderson in the opening round.

Local favourite Nick Kyrgios has got a tricky task cut out for himself ahead. Pitted against Brazilian world No.100 Rogerio Dutra Silva in the first round, the 22-year-old could run into the likes of French 15th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round and World no.3 Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round.

In women's draw, World no.1 Simona Halep has been drawn against Australian teenager Destanee Aiava in the first round, which makes her the easy favourite to progress to the next round. Serena Williams has decided to give the season opener a miss as the 23-time Grand Slam champion felt that she was not quite ready to get into the court months after giving birth in September, last year. This keeps the Grand Slam wide open for many top seeds. Her sister, Venus Williams, will start the campaign with a first-round match-up against Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic.

Johanna Konta, last year’s British quarter-finalist, is pitted in the same quarter as nemesis Simona Halep and faces America’s Madison Brengle in the first round. Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki will commence her campaign against Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu. The Danish ace reached eight finals last year and will remain a significant contender.

Garbine Muguruza is also in the same half as Halep and the Wimbledon Champion takes on France’s Jessika Ponchet in the opening round. Maria Sharapova remains unseeded and will take on 47th-ranked German Tatjana Maria. The 2008 champion moved back to the world’s top 50 for the first time since returning from her 15-month doping ban.

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