Federer takes on Bedene

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 Jan 2018 10:23:35



ROGER Federer will open his Australian Open title defence against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene next week, while top seed Rafa Nadal, the losing finalist last year, was paired with Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos at the draw on Thursday.
Women’s top seed Simona Halep of Romania faces Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava in the first round, with second seed Caroline Wozniacki starting out against Halep’s compatriot Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Serena Williams will not defend the women’s title having had her first child last year but 2008 champion Maria Sharapova, who failed a drugs test at the tournament in 2016, is back unseeded after a ban and will face Germany’s Tatjana Maria.

Williams’s sister Venus, who lost to her sibling in the final last year, is seeded fourth and the 37-year-old was handed a tricky first encounter against Swiss former world number seven Belinda Bencic, who is 17 years her junior.

Men’s third seed Grigor Dimitrov will face a qualifier, with Alexander Zverev, ranked fourth, playing Italian Thomas Fabbiano but with 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka, returning after surgery, in his section of the draw.
Young gun Zverev had little luck in his first Australian Open draw as a top five seed with either Wawrinka, who plays Ricardas Berankis, or Novak Djokovic potentially standing in his path in the quarter-finals.

Six-times Melbourne Park champion Djokovic, seeded 14th after missing the back end of last season with an elbow injury, will take on American left-hander Donald Young in his first match with mercurial Frenchman Gael Monfils looming in round two.

Federer also has Milos Raonic, Juan Martin del Potro, David Goffin and Tomas Berdych in his quarter of the draw, while
Nadal would appear to have the easier section, although
former US Open champion Marin Cilic looms as a last-eight

If the draw goes to seeding, Dimitrov would face American Jack Sock in the last eight, with ailing world number five Dominic Thiem, who withdrew from Kooyong because of illness on Thursday, taking on Zverev.

Evergreen Federer is clear favourite ROGER Federer is the “clear favourite” to retain his Australian Open title over an injury-riddled field when the first grand slam of the season starts next week in Melbourne, tennis analysts said on Wednesday.
Federer’s bid for a 20th grand slam title will be aided by the absences of Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori, as well as lingering injuries to top players who are still expected to play like Rafa Nadal and Stan Wawrinka.

But more so than the competition, it is the 36-year-old Federer’s dominant play at this month’s Hopman Cup, where he won all four of his singles matches and led Switzerland to a third title, that gives him the edge.
Bopanna, Roger-Vasselin lose to world No 1 team
INDIA’S Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who joined forces for the 2018 season, fought their hearts out before losing the semi-final of the ATP Sydney International to world number one team of Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, here on Thursday.

The fourth seeded Indo-French pair gave a scare to the top-seeded Polish-Brazilian pair before losing the closely-fought semi-final 4-6, 7-5, 8-10 in one hour and 29 minutes.
There was not much of a difference in the two teams as the winners won 70 points to the 64 of Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin.

They broke each other twice in the contest.
The victors will now fight it out with Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff and Romanian Viktor Troicki, who toppled second seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau 7-6(5), 6-1.
It was the last tournament in build up to the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open.
Bopanna had played the season-opening Tata Open Maharashtra with Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan in Pune, losing in the quarter-finals.