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Federer & Murray, Azarenka & Serena drawn in same halves of Australian Open Draw

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The draw for the 101st edition of the Australian Open took place in Melbourne today and wasn't particularly kind to any of the top seeds. Defending men's champion and world no.1 Novak Djokovic will open his title defence against Frenchman Paul Henri Mathieu, and faces a possible quarter-final showdown against the no.5 seed Tomas Berdych. David Ferrer is the highest seed in Djokovic's half of the draw, meaning Roger Federer and Andy Murray were drawn in the same half of the draw once again.

Federer hardly has it easy either with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga drawn in his quarter, and a possible third round meeting with Aussie hotshot Bernard Tomic. Federer will open his campaign against Benoit Paire.

2012 was the year that Scotsman Andy Murray finally came of age. Not only did he win a gold medal at the Olympics but he also won the US Open beating Novak Djokovic in a thrilling five set encounter. He opens against Netherlands Robin Haase. A possible encounter with Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro awaits him in the quarter finals. Del Potro will begin against a qualifier (to be announced later in the day). Both Murray and Del Potro have won their lone Slams at Flushing Meadows. With Del Potro on a career resurgence and Murray looking to capitalize on a great 2012 a great match awaits tennis fans the world over should they live up to their seedings.

Prior to the announcement of the draw women's no.1 Victoria Azrenka said, “The preparation has been pretty good so far. I'm happy where I'm at. Can't wait until the start of the tournament.” She is definitely going to need all that preparation as she finds herself in the same half of the draw as Serena Williams who has begun 2013 the same way that she ended 2012 – in a blistering run of form.

Azarenka begins her title defence against Romania’s Monica Niculescu. She faces a potential quarter0final clash against former world no.1 Caroline Wozniacki, who begins her campaign against Sabine Lisicki. Serena faces Edina Gallovits-Hall in her first round match. She could face dangerous opponents like Yaroslava Shvedova and Maria Kirilenko before a quarter final against 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Second seed Maria Sharapova faces Olga Puchkova in the first round.  She could face Venus Williams in the third round and though Venus might be coming towards the end of her career she is always a threat.  Angelique Kerber and Sharapova may meet each other in the quarter finals and Kerber’s constantly improving game will be a challenge for the Russian. Kerber starts against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina who won the French Open Juniors title in 2010.

2011 French Open champion Li Na has been drawn with local favourite Sam Stosur, Great Britain’s Heather Watson and Hopman Cup finalist Ana Ivanovic. The in-form Pole Agnieszka Radwanska is the highest ranked seed in that quarter of the draw, and is yet to lose a match this year.

Possible quarter-final line-up as per seedings:

(1) Djokovic vs (5) Berdych, (4) Ferrer vs (8) Tipsarevic, (3) Murray vs (6) Del Potro, (2) Federer vs (7) Tsonga

(1) Azarenka vs (7) Errani, (3) S.Williams vs (8) Kvitova, (4) Radwanska vs (6) Li, (2) Sharapova vs (5) Kerber

Must watch first round matches:

(10) Caroline Wozniacki vs Sabine Lisicki

(8) Petra Kvitova vs Francesca Schiavone

Lleyton Hewitt vs (8) Janko Tipsarevic

Gael Monfils vs (18) Alexandr Dolgopolov


Also ReadMen's Draw Analysis / Women's Draw Analysis