Australian Open draw 2015: Andy Murray faces qualifier in opener but Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer await in latter stages

Murray joined Nadal and Federer in the same half last year and faces a difficult path if he is to reach a fourth Australian Open final

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray could be forgiven for having a sense of deja vu after Friday's draw for the Australian Open, which gets under way in Melbourne on Monday.

For the second year in succession, Murray - who takes on a qualifier in the opening round - was placed in the same half of the draw as Rafael Nadal, with Roger Federer again his potential quarter-final opponent.

Swiss star Federer beat Murray in four sets at the same stage in 2014 before losing to Nadal in the semi-finals, the Spaniard going on to lose to Stanislas Wawrinka in the final.

Wawrinka opens his defence against Turkey's Marsel Ilhan, with top seed Novak Djokovic drawn to face a qualifier while Nadal has a tricky start against unpredictable Russian Mikhail Youzhny. Federer will play Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan.

Murray, who is seeded sixth, is also scheduled to meet Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round, the 23-year-old Bulgarian he lost to in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon last year.

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Murray could face Nadal in the semi-finals

British number two James Ward, who qualified through his world ranking for the first time, was handed a tough draw against 31st seed Fernando Verdasco, but has the added incentive of a possible third-round clash with Djokovic.

Compatriots Liam Broady and Kyle Edmund will join Ward and Murray in the main draw if they can win their respective matches in the final round of qualifying on Saturday.

In the women's event, British number one Heather Watson will take on Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, who at 67th in the world is ranked 18 places below Watson.

Top seed Serena Williams was drawn against Belgium's world number 106 Alison Van Uytvanck, with second seed Maria Sharapova up against a qualifier.

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Federer and Murray could meet in the quarter-finals

Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka, who is not seeded this year after an injury plagued 2014 saw her fall down the rankings, takes on American Sloane Stephens in the first round, with eighth seed Caroline Wozniacki scheduled to face the winner.

Third seed Simona Halep plays Italy's Karin Knapp in the first round with Wimbledon champion and fourth seed Petra Kvitova up against a qualifier.

MEN'S SINGLES DRAW (SEEDINGS IN BRACKETS):

Novak Djokovic (Ser) (1) v QUALIFIER

Andrey Kuznetsov (Rus) v Albert Ramos-Vinolas (Spa)

Go Soeda (Jpn) v QUALIFIER

James Ward (Gbr) v Fernando Verdasco (Spa) (31)

John Isner (USA) (19) v QUALIFIER

QUALIFIER v Andreas Haider-Maurer (Aut)

Pablo Carreno-Busta (Spa) v Gilles Muller (Lux)

Dominic Thiem (Aut) v Roberto Bautista-Agut (Spa) (13)

Feliciano Lopez (Spa) (12) v Denis Kudla (USA)

Blaz Rola (Slo) v Adrian Mannarino (Fra)

Juan Martin Del Potro (Arg) v Jerzy Janowicz (Pol)

Lucas Pouille (Fra) v Gael Monfils (Fra) (17)

Julien Benneteau (Fra) (25) v Benjamin Becker (Ger)

Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) v Ze Zhang (Chn)

Donald Young (USA) v QUALIFIER

QUALIFIER v Milos Raonic (Can) (8)

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Defending champion Wawrinka faces Marsel Ilhan in the first round

Stanislas Wawrinka (Swi) (4) v Marsel Ilhan (Tur)

QUALIFIER v Pablo Andujar (Spa)

Jarkko Nieminen (Fin) v Andrey Golubev (Kaz)

QUALIFIER v Pablo Cuevas (Uru) (27)

Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukr) (21) v Paolo Lorenzi (Ita)

Sam Querrey (USA) v Vasek Pospisil (Can)

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spa) v Peter Gojowczyk (Ger)

Alejandro Gonzalez (Col) v Fabio Fognini (Ita) (16)

David Ferrer (Spa) (9) v Thomaz Bellucci (Bra)

Sergiy Stakhovsky (Ukr) v Dusan Lajovic (Ser)

Marcel Granollers (Spa) v Stephane Robert (Fra)

Robin Haase (Ned) v Gilles Simon (Fra) (18)

Santiago Giraldo (Col) (30) v QUALIFIER

QUALIFIER v Steve Johnson (USA)

Ivan Dodig (Cro) v Joao Souza (Bra)

Nicolas Almagro (Spa) v Kei Nishikori (Jpn) (5)

Tomas Berdych (Cze) (7) v Alejandro Falla (Col)

QUALIFIER v Victor Estrella Burgos (Dom)

Jiri Vesely (Cze) v Viktor Troicki (Ser)

John Millman (Aus) v Leonardo Mayer (Arg) (26)

Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) (22) v Paul-Henri Mathieu (Fra)

Tobias Kamke (Ger) v Bernard Tomic (Aus)

Samuel Groth (Aus) v Filip Krajinovic (Ser)

Thanasi Kokkinakis (Aus) v Ernests Gulbis (Lat) (11)

Kevin Anderson (Rsa) (14) v Diego Sebastian Schwartzman (Arg)

Ricardas Berankis (Lit) v Igor Sijsling (Ned)

Blaz Kavcic (Slo) v James Duckworth (Aus)

Carlos Berlocq (Arg) v Richard Gasquet (Fra) (24)

Lukas Rosol (Cze) (28) v Kenny De Schepper (Fra)

Jan-Lennard Struff (Ger) v Dudi Sela (Isr)

Luke Saville (Aus) v QUALIFIER

Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) v Rafael Nadal (Spa) (3)

Andy Murray (Gbr) (6) v QUALIFIER

QUALIFIER v Marinko Matosevic (Aus)

Jordan Thompson (Aus) v Joao Sousa (Por)

Tatsuma Ito (Jpn) v Martin Klizan (Svk) (32)

David Goffin (Bel) (20) v QUALIFIER

Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) v Teymuraz Gabashvili (Rus)

Maximo Gonzalez (Arg) v Lukas Lacko (Svk)

Dustin Brown (Ger) v Grigor Dimitrov (Bul) (10)

Tommy Robredo (Spa) (15) v Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Fra)

Malek Jaziri (Tun) v Mikhail Kukushkin (Kaz)

Federico Del Bonis (Arg) v Nick Kyrgios (Aus)

QUALIFIER v Ivo Karlovic (Cro) (23)

Jeremy Chardy (Fra) (29) v Borna Coric (Cro)

Andreas Seppi (Ita) v Denis Istomin (Uzb)

Juan Monaco (Arg) v Simone Bolelli (Ita)

Yen-Hsun Lu (Tpe) v Roger Federer (Swi) (2)

PA

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