Federer to open Australian Open defence against Istomin

Djokovic wins the Australian Open

Djokovic wins the Australian Open

He has the potential of a second-round meeting against wildcard Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with a potential quarter-final showdown against Kei Nishikori.

Venus Williams, defeated by younger sister Serena in the 2017 Melbourne final, also looms as a possible third round opponent for Halep.

The Swiss six-time Australian champion, who beat Marin Cilic in last year's final, could meet the Croat again in the quarter-finals, should he come through a potentially tricky fourth-round tie against Greek prospect Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Those two, and seventh seed Dominic Thiem, are in the same quarter as Alexander Zverev, who could meet Djokovic in the semi-finals but must first plot his way past Aljaz Bedene in the opening round.

That's not in Federer's focus right now. "To win has to be the goal, but I try not to put too much pressure on it".

This year, Wilander - a three-time champion at the Australian Open - says Federer's hopes of a 21st Grand Slam lie exclusively on the hard courts of Melbourne Park.

Murray, 31, is on the comeback trail after missing 11 months with a hip injury which has seen him slump to 230 in the world.

The contest was played under match conditions on Margaret Court Arena but, with the score 6-1, 4-1, Murray called an end to proceedings.

The Yorkshireman, ranked 14th in the world, replaced Andy Murray as British number one in March and won his first ATP Tour title in October.

Halep, however, may be reluctant to look beyond the first round, having drawn her U.S. Open nemesis Kaia Kanepi.

The draw for the first Grand Slam of the season was made on Thursday and the top seeds could face some early tests of their credentials when play gets underway in Melbourne on Monday.

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