Djokovic to battle rising South Korean first up

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 14, 2016 8:01 PM

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic's road to a sixth Australian Open title starts with a first-round match against South Korean world number 51 Chung Hyeon, while women's champion Serena Williams faces Italian Camila Giorgi.

The draw released on Friday sees men's second seed Andy Murray, beaten last year by Djokovic in the final, playing Belgian young gun Alexander Zverev as he bids to win his first Melbourne Park title after four trips to the final.

Third seed Roger Federer faces 117th-ranked Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round while compatriot Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 champion and fourth seed, plays Russian veteran Dmitry Tursunov, now ranked 265 in the world.

Fifth seed Rafa Nadal, the 2009 winner, has an all-Spanish encounter in the first round against Fernando Verdasco.

In the women's draw, defending champion Williams faces a tricky first-round opponent in world number 35 Giorgi when she begins her quest for a seventh Australian Open crown.

Fifth seed Maria Sharapova, runner-up to Williams last year and champion in 2008, has a first-round tie against 58th-ranked Japanese Nao Hibino.

Second seed Simona Halep, who is battling a nagging Achilles problem, faces a qualifier first up while Garbine Muguruza, among the most exciting prospects in women's tennis, is seeded third and will meet 86th-ranked Estonian Annett Kontaveit.

Fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, still chasing a first grand slam title, plays American Christina McHale.

Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka, seeded 14th, looms as a dangerous floater in the draw and will play 44th-ranked Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)