Tough starts for top seeds in Melbourne

Angelique Kerber of Germany on court during a practice session at Melbourne Park.
Angelique Kerber of Germany on court during a practice session at Melbourne Park. LUKAS COCH

TENNIS: They are the best of their respective sexes, but Angelique Kerber and Andy Murray are wary heading into their first-round clashes on Rod Laver Arena today.

Women's world No.1 Kerber is trying not to think about being the top seed for this year's first major.

"I'm not thinking too much that I'm top-seeded now. When I'm thinking like this the pressure is much higher than when I'm just doing my things like I did before,” said the defending champion from Germany.

The 29-year-old instead is focussing on beating her first-up opponent, Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko, especially after being match point down in the first round against Japan's Misaki Doi last year.

"I was feeling that I got a second chance to stay in the tournament and since then played without expectation, just enjoying everything,” she said.

"I will start coming with this feeling again here from the first round and play my best tennis.”

Men's world No.1 Murray won't be underestimating his first-round opponent at Melbourne either - Ukrainian Ilya Marchenko.

The 29-year-old journeyman is ranked 95th in the world, but beat Nick Kyrgios at last year's US Open before being stopped in the fourth round by eventual champion Stan Wawrinka.

"I saw him playing a bit at the US Open. He had a good run there a few months ago. Also had a very tight match with Wawrinka there,” Murray said.

"He's not easy. He fights very hard. He's got a great attitude. Plays predominantly from the back of the court and moves well. He doesn't give you too many free points.”


From 10am (AEST)

Simona Halep (4) v Shelby Rogers

Venus Williams (13) v Kateryna Kozlova

Andy Murray (1) v Illya Marchenko

From 6pm (AEST)

Angelique Kerber (1) v Lesia Tsurenko

Roger Federer (17) v Qualifier

Topics:  andy murray angelique kerber australian open tennis summer of tennis

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