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Andy Murray to face Bautista Agut in Australian Open first round

11 January, 2019, 00:51 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Kyle Edmund and Roger Federer

The Serb had a magnificent 2018, making an astonishing climb back from outside the world's top 20 in June, winning Wimbledon and the US Open on the way to reclaiming the No 1 ranking in November. He has the potential of a second-round meeting against wildcard entry Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

MELBOURNE-Double defending champion Roger Federer will start his bid for a hat-trick of Australian Open titles next week against unseeded Uzbek Denis Istomin, who caused a huge upset when he defeated Novak Djokovic in the second round two years ago.

"He [Djokovic] continues to challenge me".

"I don't think I needed them to push me", Federer added.

"I've always tried to remind myself that this was my dream to become a tennis player and not that it became a job, that's why I think I'm able to show so much enthusiasm for tennis".

Marin Cilic, who lost last year's final to Federer, will begin his 2019 campaign against home hope Bernard Tomic.

Australian Open: Roger Federer to launch title defence against Denis Istomin
The draw pits Federer and Nadal in the same half, opening up the potential for a semi-final meeting between the pair. World number one Djokovic, who produced a strong comeback previous year , was the top seed of men's singles.

Alex de Minaur, the only Australian men's seed in the draw at number 27, opens against Pedro Sousa, while other prominent first-round matchups for the locals include John Millman against Federico Delbonis, and Nick Kyrgios in a mouth-watering encounter against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, the 16th seed.

Three-time grand slam victor Andy Murray has a tough clash with 22nd-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut as he returns from a hip injury. Halep has drawn another first-round against Kaia Kanepi, who beat her at the same stage at last year's U.S. Open, and a possible third rounder against unseeded Venus Williams.

Murray, 31, is on the comeback trail after missing 11 months with a hip injury which has seen him slump to 230 in the world.

Long-time rival Djokovic offered to share a court with him, but Murray called time after less than an hour with his movement around the baseline appearing restricted.

Federer, who has won the last two at Melbourne Park in a career resurgence, is in the bottom half of the draw with second-ranked Rafael Nadal, who is returning from an injury layoff.

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