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A-Tomic start for Nadal at Aussie Open

The second seeded Serb has a relatively kind draw until the quarter-finals.

Melbourne | Updated: January 11, 2014 4:10:37 pm

World number one Rafa Nadal will play local hope Bernard Tomic in the first round of the Australian Open as he bids for a 14th Grand Slam title. The Spaniard faces a tough draw, with a potential fourth round clash with 16th-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori before a possible quarter-final with Argentine Juan Martin del Potro.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic will play Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko in the first round as he bids for his fourth successive title at Melbourne Park, according to the draw released on Friday.

The second seeded Serb has a relatively kind draw until the quarter-finals, where a likely clash against eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka, who pushed him in a five-set marathon in last year’s tournament, looms.

Andy Murray will play Japan’s Go Soeda in the first round but has been drawn in the same quarter as 17-times Grand Slam champion Roger Federer.

In the women’s draw, world number one Serena Williams will play Australian wildcard Ashleigh Barty in the first round as she bids for her 18th Grand Slam title and sixth at Melbourne Park.

The American’s draw lines her up for a potentially tough fourth-round clash with Sam Stosur, who beat Williams in the final of the U.S. Open in 2011. Double defending champion Victoria Azarenka, seeded second, will take on Swede Johanna Larsson according to the draw released on Friday. Third seed Maria Sharapova will play American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, while fourth seed Li Na, runner-up at Melbourne Park last year, will play a qualifier.

Somdev to face Lopez

India’s Somdev Devvarman was handed a tough draw as well as he is pitted against World No. 27 Feliciano Lopez of Spain in the first round of the men’s singles. If the world No. 93 Indian manages to overcome the first-round hurdle at this year’s first Grand Slam, he would face the winner of the match between Michael Llodra of France and a qualifier in the second round.

Bopanna-Qureshi in final

Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi entered the final of the men’s doubles event with a straight-set win over Lukas Rosol and Joao Sousa.

The third seeded Indo-Pak pair posted an easy 6-1 6-2 win over Rosol and Sousa. Bopanna and Qureshi will take on Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic in the final on Saturday.

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