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Murray learns route to Aussie Open glory

By Tom Allnutt

Andy Murray will play Germany's talented youngster Alexander Zverev in the first round of the Australian Open, which begins on Monday.

The British No.1, seeded second, was drawn in the same half as Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka and Spain's Rafael Nadal. He could meet either in the semi-finals.

Avoiding Roger Federer, who landed in the same half as top seed Novak Djokovic, until the final is a bonus for Murray but he faces a potential banana skin in the fourth round against big-serving Australian Bernard Tomic. Spaniard David Ferrer is a possible quarter-final opponent.

Before then, the 28-year-old must overcome Zverev, whom he beat comfortably at the Hopman Cup in Perth last week. The 18-year-old, who is 6ft 6in and ranked 83rd in the world, is considered a rising star.

British No.2 Aljaz Bedene will open up against America's World No.23 Steve Johnson while Kyle Edmund, the promising 21-year-old from Yorkshire, faces Damir Dzumhur from Bosnia.

In the women's draw, Britain's Johanna Konta is drawn with seven-time Major champion Venus Williams. Heather Watson will take on World No.59 Timea Babos.

Top seed Serena Williams is bidding to equal Steffi Graf's Open-era record of 22 Slams.

Italian Camila Giorgi, the highest ranked non-seed, awaits her in the first round and she could meet Maria Sharapova in the last eight.

Williams pulled out of matches at the Hopman Cup last week with a knee injury.

"Everything's really well," she said before the draw. "I feel good."

Belfast Telegraph


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