11 Jan 2013

Djokovic starts Australian Open defence against Mathieu

3:36 pm on 11 January 2013

Theworld number one tennis player Novak Djokovic will kick off the defence of his Australian Open title with a first round tie against unseeded Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu after the draw was made for the first grand slam of the season today.

Seeking a hat-trick of titles, Djokovic has a relatively smooth draw in the tournament starting at Melbourne Park on Monday until the top seed faces a potentially dangerous quarter-final against fifth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych.

The four-time champion Roger Federer will also play an unseeded Frenchman when the second-seeded Swiss meets Benoit Paire in his opener with a fourth round clash against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic likely to provide his first major test.

The U.S. Open champion Andy Murray will start his campaign against unseeded Dutchman Robin Haase but the third-seeded Briton is likely to have one eye on Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro, who looms as a possible quarter-final opponent.

In the women's draw, Serena Williams will start her bid for a sixth Melbourne title against Romania's Edna Gallovits-Hall, with a potential quarter-final clash against former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova awaiting her in the draw.

The top seed and defending champion Victoria Azarenka plays another Romanian, Monica Niculescu, while second seeded Russian Maria Sharapova opens against compatriot Olga Puchkova.