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AUSTRALIA OPEN: Federer drawn against Bedene, Nadal meets Burgos

14 Enero 2018

Venus Williams, who lost the Australian final to her younger sister Serena last year, is seeded fifth.

Rafael Nadal suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Richard Gasquet of France at the Kooyong Classic exhibition in Australia. Imagine walking through the actual house where Rubens lived and worked, seeing the landscapes that inspired Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and discovering an original painting by Jan van Eyck in the exact location depicted in the painted scene.

However there was an exciting reprieve to the swathe of dropouts when former world number one Novak Djokovic signalled that he would be ready to take to the court in Melbourne.

"Everybody thinks I probably have a good chance to maybe repeat and other guys are maybe a bit hurt".

The tall American, who served 1,123 aces in 2017, hit 30 more Wednesday but Chung replied with 18 aces of his own and added a superb returning game, while Isner made 58 unforced errors.

The order of play for day one should be known on Friday.

"Roger, obviously, with the year he had is the favourite", Djokovic said.

Of the big names confirmed to be out, Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori won't play in the men's tournament.

Federer defeated Nadal in a memorable five-set final last year to win his 18th grand slam title, before later triumphing at Wimbledon. The World No 24 pulled out of the Sydney International before also withdrawing from the Australian Open after not having fully recovered from his injury.

Since 2010, only Wawrinka and Cilic outside the quarter of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray have emerged victorious in 28 finals.

Djokovic is in the same quarter as the Zverev brothers - fourth-seeded Alexander could meet older brother and No. 32-seeded Mischa in the third round - 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka, and No. 5 Dominic Thiem.

Unseeded women have won two of the last three majors: Ostapenko at the French Open and Sloane Stephens at the U.S. Open.

"I think he's actually a really nice guy", Federer told Channel Nine when asked about the mercurial 22-year-old. Not exactly the most left-field of picks, but given the fitness struggles of his leading rivals, and his impressive form at the Hopman Cup, Federer will win grand slam No 20.

"It's a new era and will be like adapting to a different routine".

Court, a Pentecostal pastor, has strong views on homosexuality.

Djokovic, who has won in Melbourne on six occasions with his last title coming in 2016, also believes local stars Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis can benefit from the home fans' support and do well in the first Grand Slam of the year.

There had been doubt whether he would even make the trip to Melbourne.

AUSTRALIA OPEN: Federer drawn against Bedene, Nadal meets Burgos