Australian Open 2018 : Seeds Announced, Nadal, Halep lead the charts

Australian Open 2018 : Seeds Announced, Nadal, Halep lead the charts

"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.

What was more concerning, albeit in an exhibition, was his performance against retired 36-year-old Lleyton Hewitt in the semi-finals of the event - first to 10 points - having survived match points against the Australian.

They were all square after two sets, with Thiem winning a first-set tiebreak before Nadal hit his straps in the second set. However, despite the loss to world No.31, he remained upbeat about his physical condition, reports Xinhua news agency.

The 25-year-old, who was overlooked for a home grand slam wildcard by Tennis Australia, must now back up to win two matches in less than 48 hours if he's to feature in the main draw for the 10th-straight year.

"I had a long year last year, so I had to start my preparation later than usual". This leaves several top players who all could potentially lift the trophy at the end of the fortnight, with it being possible to make cases for any of Muguruza, Halep or Pliskova.

Top-ranked Rafael Nadal and defending champion Roger Federer have been seeded first and second for the Australian Open, meaning they can only play each other at Melbourne Park this month if they set up a rematch of last year's final.

Djokovic, seeded a lowly 14th after six months out of tennis with an elbow injury, has been pitch-forked into the quarter of world No.4 Alexander Zverev and will start against American left-hander Donald Young. "But when he's on, he's on, and he's really difficult to beat".

While the men's side is arguably easier to predict given the lack of serious contenders for grand slam titles, question marks hang over the usual suspects.

They might not be the favorites to win it all, but all of these players are very capable of pulling off a shocker Down Under.

Better use? Follow the Wimbledon example and be more open to bestowing wild cards on rising players, irrespective of their nationalities, who have proven in recent months that they have great potential.

In a separate rule change designed to get matches started more quickly, warm-up times will be strictly enforced. And during a major like the French Open, where the weather is volatile, best-of-five matches can wreak havoc on the schedule. He could meet Nick Kyrgios in a fourth-round blockbuster, which would be a rematch of their Brisbane semi-final last week, won by the gifted but combustible Aussie. But it was, ending with the epic match against Rafa.

"The drive, I still have it. I certainly will hope I put myself in that position", Sharapova said.

Overall, the bottom half - with Federer, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Delpo and Zverev - is much stronger than the top. Both looked in good shape and the impression is building that Nadal, who lost to Federer in last year's final, is in the mood to go all the way this time. "I expect to continue to do so". His best finish in a Slam was a fourth-round stint at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships.

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