Murray in line to face Djokovic in Australian Open third round

Andy Murray could face 10-time winner Novak Djokovic in the third round of this month’s Australian Open.

Murray, 36, will take on 30th seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry in round one with either German Yannick Hanfmann or French veteran Gael Monfils awaiting in the second round.

Should top seed Djokovic get past a wildcard in his first match, he will have to overcome home support in his next clash with one of Aussie pair Alexei Popyrin and Marc Polmans for a chance to take on the legendary Serb.

Elsewhere, 2021 Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini is up against seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in an eye-catching draw while world number two Carlos Alcaraz will clash with 37-year-old Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

In the women’s draw, top seed Iga Swiatek is up against 2020 champion Sofia Kenin, last year’s finalist Elena Rybakina has to contend with Karolina Pliskova.

Two-time winner Naomi Osaka returns to Grand Slam action after having her first child with a tie against 16th seed Caroline Garcia, while 2023 champ Aryna Sabalenka will face a qualifier.

Of the British contingent, Emma Raducanu has a clash with American Shelby Rogers and Katie Boulter comes up against China’s Yuan Yue.

Djokovic is heavy favourite to claim a record 25th Grand Slam — surpassing Margaret Court’s tally — having overcome Tsitsipas in last year’s final.

Retired great Roger Federer and injured Rafael Nadal are the only two men to have stopped the 36-year-old in the last decade although a loss in his last match against Aussie talent Alex de Minaur has hindered his preparations.

See also  Northern Ireland thrashed by Spain despite taking early lead

Spanish icon Nadal withdrew from the tournament in Melbourne with a hip injury last Sunday.

On the women’s side, four-time Grand Slam champion Swiatek is the bookies’ pick although she has not made it past the semi-finals in her previous trips Down Under.

Rybakina thumped Sabalenka in straight sets in their final in Brisbane last week with US Open champ Naomi Osaka lifting the trophy in Auckland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *