Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Federer to face Istomin at Australian Open, Djokovic to meet qualifier

Federer to face Istomin at Australian Open, Djokovic to meet qualifier

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

Third-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who won her first Grand Slam title here a year ago after a tough final against Halep, is in the same section as Maria Sharapova and has Petra Kvitova at the top of her quarter.

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

He is in the same half of the draw as Rafael Nadal, who has drawn Australian James Duckworth.

A hard first-round draw for Murray sees the world No 230 face 22nd seed Bautista Agut, though the five-time Australian Open finalist will be buoyed by his 100 per cent record against the Spaniard.

The contest was played under match conditions on Margaret Court Arena but, with the score 6-1, 4-1, Murray called an end to proceedings.

But the toughest-looking opener on paper pits Australian 2015 quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios against Canadian 16th seed and 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic.

The American great, beaten by Naomi Osaka in the 2018 U.S. Open final after a fiery tirade against the chair umpire, faces a tough run to the quarterfinals, with top seed and last year's finalist Simona Halep a possible fourth round encounter.

Romanian Halep was named the top seed in women's singles, followed by Angelique Kerber of Germany and Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki. She is the hot favourite to claim a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam. He defeated Tsonga in the 2008 Australian final.

Murray, who missed most of last season after hip surgery, is 230th in the world and used his protected ranking to enter the first Grand Slam of the year.

This will be the first time the players will face each other.

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