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Page last updated at 00:06 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009

Murray faces Pavel in Aussie Open

AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Venue: Melbourne Park Date: 19 January-1 February
Coverage: BBC Red Button, BBC One & Two (including all Andy Murray matches), Radio 5 Live sports extra, BBC Sport website (Red Button coverage streamed on website throughout fortnight)


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Murray gearing up for Australian Open

British number one Andy Murray has been drawn against Romanian Andrei Pavel in the first round of the Australian Open.

Murray is in the same half of the draw as top seed Rafael Nadal, with Roger Federer and defending champion Novak Djokovic on the opposite side.

In the women's draw, British number one Anne Keothavong will face Russian Anne Chakvetadze, while Mel South takes on France's Marion Bartoli.

Top seed Jelena Jankovic opens against Austria's Yvonne Meusburger.

Federer, who will attempt to equal Pete Sampras's record of 14 Grand Slam titles, begins against Italian Andreas Seppi, while Nadal meets Belgium's Christophe Rochus and Djokovic plays a qualifier.

606: DEBATE
Stuart

World number five Nikolay Davydenko is the only leading man absent - the Russian has a heel injury.

Fourth seed Murray, 21, will start as a strong favourite against 34-year-old Pavel, who is ranked down at 1140 in the world after a long injury break.

The pair have met once before, with Murray winning in five sets in the first round of the 2005 US Open when the Scot was just 18.

"It's a good draw," Murray told BBC Radio 5 Live. "He didn't play a lot last year through injury, he's probably only going to play one or two more years and he's coming towards the end of his career.

"But I need to make sure I'm ready for the start - you don't want to have too many long matches early in the tournament if you want to go well here and go deep into the tournament.

"From the first set you need to be really focused."

Another victory in Melbourne would see Murray take on Teimuraz Gabashvili of Russia or Spain's Marcel Granollers in round two, with talented Japanese Kei Nishikori or Austrian 31st seed Jurgen Melzer likely to be waiting in round three.

Spaniard Fernando Verdasco is seeded to be Murray's last-16 opponent and the Briton, who lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in round one last year, could face the Frenchman again in the quarter-finals, although the fifth seed is struggling with a back injury.

Britain's women face a tougher task as Keothavong, ranked 53 in the world, takes on 17th seed Chakvetadze, and South is up against former Wimbledon finalist and 16th seed Bartoli.

Serena Williams, who defeated Serbia's Jankovic in the 2008 US Open final, will face Yuan Meng of China as she looks for a fourth Australian Open title.

Andy Murray

Highlights - Murray knocked out of 2008 Aussie Open

The American has a potentially tough draw and could run into 2006 champion Amelie Mauresmo in the fourth round, before a possible semi-final showdown with sister Venus.

Defending champion Maria Sharapova, who has been out since August with a shoulder problem, misses the tournament.

Fellow Russian Dementieva is the form player in the early part of the new season and she starts against Kristina Barrois of Germany.



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see also
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Tsonga doubt for Australian Open
15 Jan 09 |  Tennis
GB women progress in qualifying
15 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Federer questions Murray chances
13 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Davydenko out of Australian Open
07 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Sharapova to miss Australian Open
11 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Murray crashes out of Aussie Open
14 Jan 08 |  Tennis


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