Saturday, January 12, 2013
The 2013 Australian Open starts on Monday, so the draw has been released. The defending champions are Victoria Azarenka and Novak Djokovic who are also the #1 seeds this year. However, the winners of the last hard-court major, Andy Murray and Serena Williams, are looking to extend their winning ways.
Unfortunately for Azarenka she has drawn a 5-time Australian Open champion in her half of the draw, so Serena and Vika may meet in a blockbuster semifinal. World #2 Maria Sharapova may be able to reach the final for a second consecutive year if she can get past Venus Williams in Round 3 and Angelique Kerber in her quarterfinal.
There are some intriguing first round matches, like 2011Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova versus 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, Caroline Wozniacki versus Sabine Lisicki and Melanie Oudin versus Laura Robson.
On the men's side the top seed is lucky (?) not to have World #3 Murray in his half of the draw. 17-time major champion Roger Federer will need to beat Murray and Djokovic to win the title. Additionally, Federer is likely to face other obstacles from the very first round such as Benoit Paire, Nikolay Davydenko, Milos Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Djokovic could face Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals, Radek Stepanek in the 3rd round and the oft-dangerous Paul-Henri Mathieu in the very first round.
Other intriguing first-round match-ups in the men's draw include Fernando Verdasco vs David Goffin, Lleyton Hewitt vs Janko Tipsarevic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga versus Michel Llodra.