Tomic handed tough Aus Open draw

AUSTRALIAN sensation Bernard Tomic has been handed a daunting Australian Open first round after drawing Spanish 22nd seed Fernando Verdasco.

The world no. 37 Tomic has had a great start to the year, reaching the semi-finals of the Brisbane International and the final of the Kooyong Classic.

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But despite claiming the prized scalps of Tomas Berdych and Gael Monfils in 2012, Tomic will be hard pressed to beat the highly-experienced Spaniard.

If Tomic manages to successfully navigate his way into the second round, he could face a potential fourth-round match-up with Roger Federer.

Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt has a much easier path into the second-round, drawing German Cedric-Marcel Stebe as his opening opponent.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic faces Italian Paolo Lorenzi, while Brisbane International champion Andy Murray is up against American Ryan Harrison and Rafael Nadal has drawn a qualifier.

In the women's draw, US Open champion Samantha Stosur has drawn Sorana Cirstea of Romania in the first round.

Stosur has struggled in her opening matches of this year, making early exits in the Brisbane and Sydney internationals. However, Cirstea should present a relatively easy opening match for the 6th seeded Stosur.

The news was not as good for Anastasia Rodionova, drawing world number one Caroline Wozniacki, while Wimbledon junior champion Ashleigh Barty will begin her senior major career against Anna Tatishvili of Georgia.



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