Halep faces wild card in Australian Open first round

Halep faces wild card in Australian Open first round

"We have nobody who has taken the bull by the horns, since Serena has been out of the game, started her own dominance", twice Australian Open champion Chris Evert, a commentator for ESPN at the Open, said.

"We were training really hard, the off-season was really good and I want to show this season that I did some improvements and we will see in my game, time will show", Rublev insisted.

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Alexander Zverev clinched two ATP Masters 1000 in 2017, Grigor Dimitrov won the year-ending ATP Finals and Nick Kyrgios recently won his first title on home soil.

"I think he's incredibly talented - we had a great match in Miami previous year and also at the Laver Cup".

Six-time champion Djokovic has a shot at surpassing Roy Emerson to become the only male player with seven Australian Open titles in tennis history.

An unlikely victor at Melbourne Park in 2017 before going on to capture Wimbledon, the evergreen 36-year-old - who enjoyed a renaissance last season having been struck down by injuries in 2016 - is trusting his tried and tested preparation, having featured at the Hopman Cup in Perth just like he did last year.

While 2017 was all about the renaissance of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in men's tennis, their revival was barely tested by the other members of the Big Four.

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Roger Federer has revealed that last year's Australian Open win over Rafael Nadal in the final saw some of the best tennis he has ever played in his life.

"I feel great, I was eager to get onto the court", he said after playing with a flesh-colored sleeve on his right arm.

But more so than the competition, it is the 36-year-old Federer's dominant play at this month's Hopman Cup, where he won all four of his singles matches and led Switzerland to the title, that gives him the edge.

Dimitrov acknowledged Vallverdu for helping him develop a new-found mental toughness, and the duo will hope to build on that victory at the O2 when gracing the hard courts of Melbourne - a tournament where he reached the semis past year.

Top-ranked Simona Halep opens against Australian wild card Destanee Aiava, has a potential second-round match against 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard, and is in the same half as Garbine Muruguza, the Wimbledon champion.

The Swiss marvel rates his magical Melbourne Park comeback from a career-threatening knee injury above even his incredible eighth Wimbledon triumph last July. However, the real challenge could be Marin Cilic in the quarterfinal round (again, presuming chalk).

Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki shares a quarter with French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, and the pair are possible semi-final opponents for Svitolina or Williams.