Australian Open 2017: Andy Murray to play Ilya Marchenko in first round

Andy Murray could face Roger Federer in the final eight

Britain’s world number one Andy Murray will play Ukraine’s Ilya Marchenko in the Australian Open first round.

Murray was drawn in the same quarter as Roger Federer – meaning the pair could square off in the last eight.

The Scot is chasing a fourth Grand Slam title of his career and his first in Melbourne, where he has reached the final five times.

Britain’s word number 10 Johanna Konta will face Kirsten Flipkens from Belgium.

Konta’s draw places her in the same quarter as Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova and American champion Serena Williams.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic will launch his bid for a record seventh Australian Open title with a mouth-watering first round match against Fernando Verdasco.


Analysis by the BBC’s Russell Fuller

If Murray can safely find a way through his first ever week as a top seed at a Grand Slam, then he may have the chance to avenge last year’s US Open quarter-final defeat to Kei Nishikori.

But Roger Federer may have something to say about that. Now seeded 17, after six months out through injury, the 17-time Grand Slam champion is in Nishikori’s section of the draw.

All the British men will face opening round opponents outside the world’s top 50, but the women have a tougher draw.

Kirsten Flipkens brings the experience of a Wimbledon semi-final into her match with Johanna Konta, while Heather Watson and Naomi Broady must both face seeded Australians.

Sam Stosur has a very poor record in front of her home fans, however, which should give Watson cause for optimism.


Spaniard Verdasco knocked compatriot Rafa Nadal out in the opening round last year at Melbourne Park and had match points against Djokovic in their recent clash at the Qatar Open.

Nadal, seeded ninth, will play German Florian Mayer and has a decent run before a possible quarter-final against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, seeded third. Federer will face a qualifier first up.

Murray, beaten in four finals by Djokovic, including last year’s decider, faces a relatively smooth run to the quarter-finals.

Johanna Konta will face Belgian Kirsten Flipkens

In the women’s draw, Williams will start her bid for a professional-era record 23rd grand slam title with a perilous first clash against Swiss talent Belinda Bencic.

The American could then face former top 10 player Lucie Safarova in the second round.

Defending champion Angelique Kerber, who stunned Williams in the final last year, will play 61st-ranked Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko.

World number one Kerber is aiming for her third Grand Slam win following on from her maiden US Open title last year.

Konta was on impressive form at the Sydney International on Thursday, with a 6-2 6-2 win over Eugenie Bouchard.

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