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Tennis

Serena faces Azarenka test

Australian Open title favourite Serena Williams drawn with defending champion as Djokovic gets best of the men's draw.
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2013 12:27
Thirty-one-year-old Williams is favourite to win her 16th grand slam singles title in Melbourne, and is in line for a semi-final showdown with defending champion Victoria Azarenka [EPA]

Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams are in the same half of the draw at the Australian Open, setting up the prospect of a semi-final match between the defending champion and the title favourite.

Top-ranked Azarenka has lost 11 of her 12 matches against Williams, who increased her career haul to 15 Grand Slam titles last year by winning at Wimbledon and the US Open. Williams has won five Australian titles, more than any other woman in the Open era, and is in dominant form after winning 35 of her last 36 matches.

That run included a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 comeback victory in the US Open final after being just two points away from defeat to Azarenka.

No. 2-ranked Maria Sharapova, the French Open champion, is on the other half of the draw with No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 5 Angelique Kerber and No. 6 Li Na. She could meet Venus Williams in the third round.

Sharapova, runner-up to Azarenka last year at Melbourne Park, will meet fellow Russian Olga Puchkova in the opening round.

Projected quarters based on seedings

Men's round

Novak Djokovic v Tomas Berdych
David Ferrer v Janko Tipsarevic
Juan Martin Del Potro v Andy Murray
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Roger Federer

Women's round

Victoria Azarenka v Sara Errani
Serena Williams v Petra Kvitova
Li Na v Agnieszka Radwanska
Angelique Kerber v Maria Sharapova

"I don't pay attention too much to the draws because we could face anyone from the first round to the finals, and you have to be ready to face that opponent,'' said Sharapova.

Title boost

Novak Djokovic's bid for a third consecutive Australia Open title got a boost when No. 2-ranked Roger Federer and US Open champion Andy Murray both landed in the other half when the official draw was made Friday.

Top-ranked Djokovic will face Paul-Henri Mathieu in the first round and also has fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych in his quarter of the draw and fourth-seeded David Ferrer in his half.

Ferrer is the highest-ranked Spaniard in the tournament in the absence of 11-time major winner Rafael Nadal, who hasn't played on the tour since the middle of 2012 due to a left knee injury.

"He was a top-20 player before. He knows what it's like to be on the big stage. He has a lot of quality - a lot of experience,'' Djokovic was quoted as saying of Mathieu.

"There are expectations for someone who is in my position, but I am looking forward to it.''

Federer will play Benoit Paire of France in the first round and has a potential third-round match against local hope Bernard Tomic. Federer, a four-time Australian Open winner, could face Murray in the semi-finals.

Murray, who ended a 76-year drought for British men at Grand Slam events when he won the US Open last year, will start his campaign against Robin Haase of the Netherlands and has a potential quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Juan Martin Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion.

On the women's side, Azarenka has a first-round match against Romania's Monica Niculescu and is in the same quarter as former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki and seventh-seeded Sara Errani.

Serena Williams will play Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania in the first round and is in the same quarter as 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and 19-year-old American Sloane Stephens, who is seeded 29th.

Men’s draw in full (x denotes seed)

Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) v Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA)
Ryan Harrison (USA) v Santiago Giraldo (COL)
Qualifier v Feliciano Lopez (ESP)
Viktor Troicki (SRB) v Radek Stepanek (CZE x31)
Sam Querrey (USA x20) v Qualifier
Qualifier v Brian Baker (USA)
Tobias Kamke (GER) v Flavio Cipolla (ITA)
Qualifier v Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI x15)
Juan Monaco (ARG x11) v Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS)
Kevin Anderson (RSA) v Paolo Lorenzi (ITA)
Xavier Malisse (BEL) v Pablo Andujar (ESP)
David Goffin (BEL) v Fernando Verdasco (ESP x22)
Jurgen Melzer (AUT x26) v Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)
Fabio Fognini (ITA) v Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
Qualifier v Guillaume Rufin (FRA)
Michael Russell (USA) v Tomas Berdych (CZE x5)
David Ferrer (ESP x4) v Olivier Rochus (BEL)
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) v Qualifier
John Millman (AUS) v Tatsuma Ito (JPN)
Albert Ramos (ESP) v Marcos Baghdatis (CYP x28)
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS x23) v Matthew Ebden (AUS)
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) v Adrian Ungur (ROM)
Qualifier v Carlos Berlocq (ARG)
Victor Hanescu (ROM) v Kei Nishikori (JPN x16)
Nicolas Almagro (ESP x10) v Qualifier
Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) v Lukasz Kubot (POL)
Bjorn Phau (GER) v Somdev Devvarman (IND)
Simone Bolelli (ITA) v Jerzy Janowicz (POL x24)
Julien Benneteau (FRA x32) v Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) v Qualifier
Lukas Lacko (SVK) v Gilles Muller (LUX)
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) v Janko Tipsarevic (SRB x8)
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG x6) v Qualifier
Aljaz Bedene (SLO) v Benjamin Becker (GER)
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) v Qualifier
Grega Zemlja (SLO) v Marcel Granollers (ESP x30)
Andreas Seppi (ITA x21) v Horacio Zeballos (ARG)
Igor Sijsling (NED) v Denis Istomin (UZB)
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) v Qualifier
Marinko Matosevic (AUS) v Marin Cilic (CRO x12)
Gilles Simon (FRA x14) v Filippo Volandri (ITA)
Tommy Robredo (ESP) v Jesse Levine (CAN)
Lu Yen-Hsun (TPE) v Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP)
Gael Monfils (FRA) v Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR x18)
Florian Mayer (GER x25) v Rhyne Williams (USA)
Qualifier v Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR)
Joao Sousa (POR) v John-Patrick Smith (AUS)
Robin Haase (NED) v Andy Murray (GBR x3)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x7) v Michael Llodra (FRA)
Go Soeda (JPN) v Luke Saville (AUS)
James Duckworth (AUS) v Benjamin Mitchell (AUS)
Blaz Kavcic (SLO) v Thomaz Bellucci (BRA x29)
Tommy Haas (GER x19) v Jarkko Nieminen (FIN)
Ivan Dodig (CRO) v Wu Di (CHN)
Josselin Ouanna (FRA) v Alejandro Falla (COL)
Albert Montanes (ESP) v Richard Gasquet (FRA x9)
Milos Raonic (CAN x13) v Jan Hajek (CZE)
Qualifier v Lukas Rosol (CZE)
Qualifier v Guido Pella (ARG)
Steve Darcis (BEL) v Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x17)
Martin Klizan (SVK x27) v Qualifier
Bernard Tomic (AUS) v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
Qualifier v Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)
Benoit Paire (FRA) v Roger Federer (SUI x2)

Women’s draw in full

Victoria Azarenka (BLR x1) v Monica Niculescu (ROM)
Eleni Daniilidou (GRE) v Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
Qualifier v Sofia Arvidsson (SWE)
Jamie Hampton (USA) v Urszula Radwanska (POL x31)
Varvara Lepchenko (USA x21) v Polona Hercog (SLO)
Caroline Garcia (FRA) v Elena Vesnina (RUS)
Mathilde Johansson (FRA) v Qualifier
Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) v Roberta Vinci (ITA x16)
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x10) v Sabine Lisicki (GER)
Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) v Donna Vekic (CRO)
Qualifier v Lauren Davis (USA)
Qualifier v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x24)
Hsieh Su-wei (TPE x26) v Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino (ESP)
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) v Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP)
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) v Christina McHale (USA)
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) v Sara Errani (ITA x7)
Serena Williams (USA x3) v Edina Gallovits-Hall (ROM)
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) v Garbine Muguruza (ESP)
Ayumi Morita (JPN) v Anna Tatishvili (GEO)
Annika Beck (GER) v Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ x28)
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL x20) v Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)
Qualifier v Jana Cepelova (SVK)
Rebecca Marino (CAN) v Peng Shuai (CHN)
Vania King (USA) v Maria Kirilenko (RUS x14)
Nadia Petrova (RUS x12) v Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN)
Shahar Peer (ISR) v Alexandra Panova (RUS)
Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor (ESP) v Bojana Jovanovski (SRB)
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) v Lucie Safarova (CZE x17)
Sloane Stephens (USA x29) v Simona Halep (ROM)
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) v Timea Babos (HUN)
Melanie Oudin (USA) v Laura Robson (GBR)
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) v Petra Kvitova (CZE x8)
Li Na (CHN x6) v Sesil Karatantcheva (KAZ)
Pauline Parmentier (FRA) v Olga Govortsova (BLR)
Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) v Sacha Jones (AUS)
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) v Sorana Cirstea (ROM x27)
Julia Goerges (GER x18) v Qualifier
Romina Oprandi (SUI) v Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL)
Zhang Yuxuan (CHN) v Zheng Jie (CHN)
Chang Kai-chen (TPE) v Samantha Stosur (AUS x9)
Ana Ivanovic (SRB x13) v Melinda Czink (HUN)
Qualifier v Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)
Qualifier v Qualifier
Johanna Larsson (SWE) v Jelena Jankovic (SRB x22)
Mona Barthel (GER x32) v Ksenia Pervak (KAZ)
Heather Watson (GBR) v Alexandra Cadantu (ROM)
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM) v Arantxa Rus (NED)
Bojana Bobusic (AUS) v Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x4)
Angelique Kerber (GER x5) v Elina Svitolina (UKR)
Lucie Hradecka (CZE) v Kiki Bertens (NED)
Casey Dellacqua (AUS) v Madison Keys (USA)
Stefanie Voegele (SUI) v Tamira Paszek (AUT x30)
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS x19) v Qualifier
Camila Giorgi (ITA) v Stephanie Foretz Gacon (FRA)
Qualifier v Olivia Rogowska (AUS)
Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) v Marion Bartoli (FRA x11)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x15) v Ashleigh Barty (AUS)
Mandy Minella (LUX) v Qualifier
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) v Nina Bratchikova (RUS)
Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) v Klara Zakopalova (CZE x23)
Venus Williams (USA x25) v Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ)
Alize Cornet (FRA) v Marina Erakovic (NZL)
Petra Martic (CRO) v Misaki Doi (JPN)
Olga Puchkova (RUS) v Maria Sharapova (RUS x2)

1556

Source:
AP
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