Australian Open 2016: Andy Murray to face Zverev in opener

Andy Murray
Andy Murray has lost four finals in Melbourne - three to Serbia's Novak Djokovic
Australian Open
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 18-31 January
Coverage: Live radio and text commentary on all Andy Murray matches. Listen to Tennis Breakfast on Radio 5 live sports extra from 07:00 GMT every day.

British number one Andy Murray will face German teenager Alexander Zverev in the first round of the Australian Open, which begins on 18 January.

The Scot aims to win his first title in Melbourne, having lost in four finals, including last year to Novak Djokovic.

World number one Djokovic starts against South Korea's Hyeon Chung.

Women's champion Serena Williams has a tough draw, starting with Italy's Camila Giorgi, the highest-ranked unseeded player.

See the full Australian Open draws here.

What about the other Brits?

Four other Britons are in round one of the men's and women's singles:

  • Johanna Konta v Venus Williams (US)
  • Heather Watson v Timea Babos (Hungary)
  • Aljaz Bedene v Steve Johnson (US)
  • Kyle Edmund v Damir Dzumhur (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

They could be joined by Dan Evans, who plays American Bjorn Fratangelo on Saturday in the final round of qualifying.

Konta's match with Williams is a particularly enticing prospect.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge," said the Brit, who almost beat Williams in October.

Who is Murray's opponent?

Murray comfortably beat Zverev, an 18-year-old from Hamburg, in the Hopman Cup last week.

Zverev is 6ft 6in tall, ranked 83rd in the world and is widely considered to be one of the game's rising stars.

Last year in Washington he beat world number 12 Kevin Anderson, the destructive South African who knocked Murray out of the US Open.

Zverev has never been past the second round of a Grand Slam.

What about the other big names?

Here are some of the key first-round ties:

Men's draw:

  • Stan Wawrinka v Dmitry Tursunov (Russia)
  • Roger Federer v Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia)
  • Rafael Nadal v Fernando Verdasco (Spain)

Women's draw:

  • Maria Sharapova v Nao Hibino (Japan)
  • Agnieszka Radwanska v Christina McHale (US)
  • Victoria Azarenka v Alison Van Uytvanck (Belgium)

Who will make the quarter-finals?

If the seedings go to plan, these are how they will look:

Women:

  • Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova
  • Agnieszka Radwanska v Petra Kvitova
  • Garbine Muguruza v Angelique Kerber
  • Simona Halep v Venus Williams

Men:

  • Novak Djokovc v Kei Nishikori
  • Roger Federer v Tomas Berdych
  • Stan Wawrinka v Rafael Nadal
  • Andy Murray v David Ferrer

Analysis

BBC Radio 5 Live tennis correspondent Russell Fuller:

Sam Groth and Bernard Tomic could both give Murray plenty to think about before the last eight, but he has avoided a potential match with Nadal or Nishikori in the quarter-finals.

Given Murray's recent struggles against both Federer and Djokovic, it's no bad thing that both appear in the other half of the draw.

Djokovic may have to beat both Nishikori and Federer just to reach the final, but Wawrinka might need to beat Jack Sock, Milos Raonic, Nadal, Murray and then Djokovic to win the title for a second time.

In the women's event, Konta served for the match when she played Venus Williams in Wuhan in October, but the American is still a top 10 player at the age of 35.

Watson, with four wins under her belt already this year, won't be sorry to have avoided a seed and could play Belinda Bencic in round two.

Given the uncertainty over the state of her knee, Serena Williams has a very dangerous first round opponent in Giorgi.

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