January 24, 2018, 9:43 am
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Bedene to test Roger first

MELBOURNE. — Roger Federer will open his Australian Open title defense against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene next week, while top seed Rafa Nadal, the losing finalist last year, was paired with Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos at the draw on Thursday.

Women’s top seed Simona Halep of Romania faces Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava in the first round, with second seed Caroline Wozniacki starting out against Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Serena Williams will not defend the women’s title having had her first child last year but 2008 champion Maria Sharapova, who failed a drugs test at the tournament in 2016, is back unseeded after a ban and will face Tatjana Maria.

Men’s third seed Grigor Dimitrov will face a qualifier with Alexander Zverev, ranked fourth, playing Italian Thomas Fabbiano but with 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka, returning after a spell sidelines after surgery, in his section of the draw.

Six-time Melbourne Park champion Novak Djokovic, seeded 14th after missing the back end of last season with an elbow injury, will take on American lefthander Donald Young with a potential tie against Wawrinka or Zverev in the quarterfinal.
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