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Nadal, Murray in same half of Australian Open draw

Nadal, Murray in same half of Australian Open draw
AFP
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First Published: Fri, Jan 16 2009. 11 33 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Jan 16 2009. 11 33 AM IST
Melbourne: Spain’s world number one and top seed Rafael Nadal finds British contender Andy Murray in his half of the men’s singles for the Australian Open, starting on Monday.
Murray, the fourth seed, is bidding to become Britain’s first men’s grand slam champion since Fred Perry in 1936.
Second seed Roger Federer, chasing one more slam title to equal the record 14 set by American Pete Sampras, has defending Australian champion Novak Djokovic in his bottom half of the draw, made on Friday.
Nadal begins his campaign against Belgian Christophe Rochus and could face unseeded former world number one and Australian finalist Lleyton Hewitt in the fourth round.
Hewitt, whose ranking has slipped to 74 after hip surgery last August, has a tough first-up opponent in former finalist and 13th seed Chilean Fernando Gonzalez.
Murray’s first-round opponent is Romanian Andrei Pavel and he also has last year’s beaten finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in his quarter of the draw.
Federer, beaten by Djokovic in last year’s semi-final, takes on Italian Andreas Seppi in the first round and could meet 2005 champion and 26th seeded Russian Marat Safin in the third round.
Djokovic starts off with a qualifier and has American seventh seed Andy Roddick and Argentine 10th seed David Nalbandian in his quarter of the draw.
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First Published: Fri, Jan 16 2009. 11 33 AM IST