Melbourne, Jan 10 (IANS) Three-time winner and defending champion Novak Djokovic earned a dream Australian Open draw while world No.1 Rafael Nadal faces a tricky first-round opponent in Bernard Tomic.
Unbeaten in four months, Djokovic was handed the kindest draw amongst the big guns Friday. The Serbian meets Slovakia’s world No.90 Lukas Lacko in his opening match, and is drawn to meet 15th seed Fabio Fognini in the fourth round, reports Xinhua.
The biggest threat in Djokovic’s half is Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, who will play Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev in the first round. And then the world No.2 is seeded to run into Spanish world No.3 David Ferrer in the semi-finals.
Top-seeded Nadal, No.4 Andy Murray, No.5 Juan Martin del Potro and No.6 Roger Federer all stacked in the opposite half.
Nadal, who missed last year’s Australian Open with a left knee injury during a seven-month absence from the tour, returned to win 10 titles in 2013 and regain the No.1 ranking, overtaking Djokovic. His first round opponent Tomic reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2011 and has been ranked as high as No.27.
Nadal also has No.25 Gael Monfils, former No.1 Lleyton Hewitt and 16th-seeded Nishikori Kei in his section.
Federer will open against Australian wild-card entry James Duckworth and Murray takes on Japanese Soeda Go. The quarter-finals in that half would likely feature Nadal against del Potro and Federer against Murray.