Australian Open 2013 – Preview

By Ros Satar

Preview – Men

Andy Murray will open up his Australian Open campaign against unseeded Dutchman Robin Haase, and may well have to overcome Juan-Martin Del Potro and Roger Federer if he is to win back to back Slams.

Murray started the season defending his title in Brisbane but had to work hard for it.

With big wins over Federer in their last big-ticket encounters, a run to the final looks good for the US Open 2012 and Olympic Gold medallist.

World number one, and defending champion, Novak Djokovic potentially faces Czech Tomas Berdych in the quarter-final and David Ferrer in the semis.

Roger Federer has some tricky opposition in his section of the draw, most likely facing Nikolay Davydenko, whose spirited run to the final in Doha sees him returning to form.

Aussie Bernard Tomic seems to have put aside some of his personal trials and tribulations and scored a victory over Djokovic in the recent Hopman Cup Invitational event, and will relish another chance to face Federer in front of a home crowd.

Other possible match-ups for the four-time AO champion include Canada’s Milos Raonic and Doha champion Richard Gasquet.

At the time of writing, Murray may be joined in the main draw by fellow Brits Jamie Baker and James Ward who are into the final rounds of the qualifying matches, to be played on Saturday.

Preview – Women

Defending champion, Victoria Azarenka looks set to meet Serena Williams in the semi-final.

With only one victory against Williams in 12 meetings, an early look at Azarenka’s form was delayed when she had to withdraw from the Brisbane semi-final, earlier this month.

Williams, on the other hand, looked in imperious form in Brisbane, beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets for just the loss of three games.

On the other side of the draw, Maria Sharapova starts as the number 2 seed, but an ongoing injury to her right collarbone saw her pull out of the season opener in Brisbane.

If fully recovered and playing to form, Sharapova looks likely to meet Venus Williams in the third round.

Laura Robson starts off against Melanie Oudin and could face either Petra Kvitova or Franscesca Schiavone in the second round.

Heather Watson could run into fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, if she gets to the third round.

Radwanska, seeded fourth, made her first Slam final in New York, only to be dominated by Serena Williams, but comes to Australia after winning the Sydney Apia International, delivering a double bagel to Dominika Cibulkova in the process.

Sadly fellow Brits Anne Keothavong and Johanna Konta failed to qualify, falling in the first and second rounds respectively.

The Australian Open starts in Melbourne on Monday 14th January.