Djokovic Back, Set for Australian Open


Third-seeded Muguruza is in a hard quarter containing former Australian Open champions Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber, and U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys. It's been many months out of the tour.

Should Djokovic come through that, he could face France's former world No 6 Gael Monfils, who enters the Australian Open as the recently-crowned Qatar Open champion - a tournament Djokovic has twice won but opted to miss this year to continue his recovery.

Roger Federer will open his Australian Open title defence against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene next week, while top seed Rafa Nadal, the losing finalist past year, was paired with Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos at the draw yesterday.

The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, is set to get underway on January 15, with the men's singles title match set for January 28.

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76 lost the first set but still managed to get the job done 6-7 (3) 6-4 7-5.

He also ran across a player of intrigue in the run-up tournaments.

Below, we have taken a look at the most pertinent Opta facts ahead of the first grand slam of 2018. Grigor Dimitrov might also try to find his best finish in Melbourne.

The withdrawal of Williams and unseeded star Victoria Azarenka means only two Australian Open champions feature in the women's draw; 2008 victor Maria Sharapova and 2016's Angelique Kerber. "He can switch from playing unbelievably to just missing, you know, the easiest shots and all that".

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This year it's even more wide open than normal for both the men and women. He stayed injury free until the final stages of his brilliant 2017 campaign, winning a 10th French Open title and then claiming the US Open, before familiar knee problems returned putting an end to his season at the ATP Finals in London. Meanwhile, on the women's side, Venus Williams would be the oldest Grand Slam champion ever if she lifts the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup in two weeks' time.

There has been little to cheer since the turn of the century and the last time an Australian made it to the men's final at Melbourne Park was Lleyton Hewitt in 2005. She wrote in a statement, "My coach and team always said, 'Only go to tournaments where you are prepared to go all the way'".

The big features of the women's draw is that the top seed and world No.1, Simona Halep still hasn't won a Grand Slam title.

Danish former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, the second seed after her resurgence in 2017 when she reached eight finals, opens against Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania in the bottom half of the draw.

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