Tennis: Roger Federer to face Aljaz Bedene, top seed Rafael Nadal plays Victor Estrella Burgos in Australian Open first-round draw

Roger Federer will begin his Australian Open campaign against 51st-ranked Slovenian Aljaz Bedene.
Roger Federer will begin his Australian Open campaign against 51st-ranked Slovenian Aljaz Bedene.PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Roger Federer will open his title defence against Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene and has a potential quarter-final with David Goffin in the Australian Open.

In Thursday's (Jan 11) draw, 36-year-old Federer, bidding for a record 20th Grand Slam title, has a first-round encounter with the 51st-ranked Bedene.

The Swiss marvel, chasing a sixth Australian Open crown, could also face big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the fourth round in the bottom half of the men's draw.

World No. 1 and top seed Rafael Nadal starts his Australian campaign against the 83rd-ranked Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic in the top quarter of the draw.

Nadal withdrew from his first ATP Tour event of 2018, in Brisbane, with continuing knee problems, and has been getting in match practice in a Melbourne exhibition event this week ahead of Monday's start to the major.

The Spaniard could face world No. 6 Marin Cilic of Croatia in the quarter-finals.

Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, seeded 14th for this year's tournament, has a couple of potential early obstacles with American Donald Young and mercurial Frenchman Gael Monfils in the second round.

The 12-time Grand Slam winner has been sidelined since Wimbledon in July because of a right elbow injury, but beat world No. 5 Dominic Thiem in straight sets in the Kooyong Classic this week.

Thiem is projected to face rising young German star Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals of Djokovic's section of the draw. Former Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka, who hasn't played since Wimbledon after knee surgery, is the same section of the draw and faces Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis first up.

World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov faces a qualifier first up and could face American Jack Sock in the last eight.

Tempestuous Australian 17th seed Nick Kyrgios, is in the same section of the draw and faces Brazil's 100th-ranked Rogerio Dutra Silva.