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Australian Open 2017: Andy Murray to play Ilya Marchenko in first round


Andy Murray could face Roger Federer in the final eight

Andy Murray could face Roger Federer in the final eight

Britain’s world number one Andy Murray will play Ukraine’s Ilya Marchenko in the Australian Open first round.

Murray was drawn in the same quarter as Roger Federer – meaning the pair could face each other in the last eight.

Murray is chasing a fourth Grand Slam title of his career and his first in Melbourne, where he has reached the final five times.

Britain’s word number 10 Johanna Konta will face Kirsten Flipkens from Belgium.

Konta’s draw places her in the same quarter as Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova and American champion Serena Williams.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic will be aiming for a record seventh Australian Open title with a first round match against Fernando Verdasco.

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Analysis by the BBC’s Russell Fuller

If Murray can safely find a way through his first ever week as a top seed at a Grand Slam, then he may have the chance to avenge last year’s US Open quarter-final defeat to Kei Nishikori.

But Roger Federer may have something to say about that. Now seeded 17, after six months out through injury, the 17-time Grand Slam champion is in Nishikori’s section of the draw.

All the British men will face opening round opponents outside the world’s top 50, but the women have a tougher draw.

Kirsten Flipkens brings the experience of a Wimbledon semi-final into her match with Johanna Konta, while Heather Watson and Naomi Broady must both face seeded Australians.

Sam Stosur has a very poor record in front of her home fans, however, which should give Watson cause for optimism.

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Spain’s Verdasco knocked his compatriot Rafa Nadal out in the opening round last year, but went on to lose to Djokovic in their recent clash at the Qatar Open.

Nadal, seeded ninth, will play German Florian Mayer before a possible quarter-final against Canadian Milos Raonic.

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Johanna Konta will face Belgian Kirsten Flipkens

In the women’s draw, Williams is aiming for her 23rd grand professional slam title.

Her first match will be against Swiss Belinda Bencic.

Defending champion Angelique Kerber will play 61st-ranked Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko.

World number one Kerber is aiming for her third Grand Slam win following her maiden US Open title last year.

At the Sydney International on Thursday, Konta had a 6-2 6-2 win over Eugenie Bouchard.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/38605497