Federer, Baghdatis could meet in quarters
Defending champion Roger Federer, bidding for his 10th Grand Slam title, could meet last year's surprise finalist, Marcos Baghdatis, in the quarterfinals at Australian Open.Updated: Jan 12, 2007 11:57 IST
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will have some work to do if they are to meet in the Australian Open final this year.
Defending champion Federer, bidding for his 10th career Grand Slam title, could meet last year's surprise finalist, Marcos Baghdatis, in the quarterfinals. He also has US Open semifinalist Mikhail Youzhny and former top-ranked Juan Carlos Ferrero as potential third- and fourth-round opponents.
Second-seeded Nadal could run into Britain's Andy Murray in the fourth round and has No. 5 James Blake and two-time major winner Lleyton Hewitt also in the bottom quarter of the draw.
French Open champion Nadal and Murray were the only two players to beat Federer last year when the Swiss star compiled a 92-5 season and appeared in the final of all four Grand Slam finals, winning three - the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to achieve that feat.
Blake has a tough opener against former No. 1-ranked Carlos Moya - they're both into the semifinals at the Sydney International this week - and could renew his testy rivalry with Australia's Hewitt in the fourth round.
Federer will play Bjorn Phau of Germany in the first round while Nadal opens against American Robert Kendrick, whom he beat in five sets in the second round at Wimbledon last year.
Baghdatis has a first-round match against 2003 Australian Open finalist Rainer Schuettler of Germany. Also in the top half of the draw, sixth-seeded Andy Roddick opens against French wildcard entry Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and could play 2005 Australian Open champion Marat Safin in the third round.
Safin plays Benjamin Becker of Germany in the first round. Becker beat Andre Agassi in his farewell match at the US Open last year and had the biggest jump of any player in the top 100, moving 419 places to No. 58.
In the women's draw, top-seeded Maria Sharapova meets Camille Pin of France in her first-round match and could face eighth-seeded Patty Schnyder in the quarterfinals.
Three-time Australian Open champion and six-time finalist Martina Hingis plays Nathalie Dechy of France, a semifinalist in Melbourne in 2005, in her opening match and could meet fourth-seeded Kim Clijsters in the quarterfinals.
Defending champion Amelie Mauresmo plays American Shenay Perry in the first round. Top-ranked Justin Henin-Hardenne, who retired from last year's final against Mauresmo, is skipping the Australian tournaments for family reasons.
Seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams opens against Mara Santangelo of Italy and could meet Michaella Krajicek in the second round and No. 5 Nadia Petrova in the third.
Williams, who won her last major here in 2005, will be competing at Melbourne without her sister, Venus, who pulled out this week with a lingering wrist injury.