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Djokovic, Serena Draw Tough Opening Matches at the Aussie Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic drew a difficult first round opponent in Fernando Verdasco, while Roger Federer’s fall in the rankings complicated his chances at Melbourne Park as he ended up in same quarter as top-ranked Andy Murray, No. 5 Kei Nishikori and No. 10 Thomas Berdych.

Defending men's and woman's champions Serbia's Novak Djokovic, left, and Germany's Angelique Kerber pose with their trophies prior to the official draw ceremony ahead of the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Defending men's and woman's champions Serbia's Novak Djokovic, left, and Germany's Angelique Kerber pose with their trophies prior to the official draw ceremony ahead of the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

The official draw for the season’s first major was held Friday. Six-time women’s champion Serena Williams, aiming for an Open-era record 23rd Grand Slam singles title, drew a challenging first-round opponent in Belinda Bencic and also had No. 9 Johanna Konta, No. 17 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 6 Dominika Cibulkova in her quarter.

Top-ranked Angelique Kerber, who beat Serena Williams in the final here last year to win her first Grand Slam title, will open against Lesia Tsurenko.

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Original author: AP
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