Djokovic to open Australian Open against 90th-ranked Lacko

Jan. 10, 2014 at 8:08 AM
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MELBOURNE, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Novak Djokovic opens his attempt for a fourth-consecutive Australian Open title against Lukas Lacko, the draw for the year's first tennis major showed Friday.

Djokovic has never before played against Lacko, who is 90th in the world rankings .

No player has won four consecutive men's singles titles at the Australian Open in the Open Era.

Counting his win in 2008, Djokovic owns four Australian Open titles (of his six Grand Slam championships). While Andre Agassi and Roger Federer also won four times in Melbourne, no men's player has won the event five times since Roy Emerson collected his sixth championship in 1967.

If the tournament plays to form, No. 8-ranked Stanislas Wawrinka and ninth-ranked Richard Gasquet would meet with the winner taking on Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

Also in that half of the overall draw is third-seeded David Ferrer, whose highest-ranked possible opponent in the quarters is No. 7 Tomas Berdych.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is in a quarter of the draw that also features fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro. Fourth-seeded Andy Murray, who lost the final to Djokovic last year, headlines the other quarter of the draw.

Perhaps the toughest track to a title is owned by Federer, the sixth seed. He potentially has a fourth-round match against 10th-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before meeting Murray in the quarterfinals. Then could come Nadal in the semifinals with Djokovic the favorite to reach the finals from the other half of the draw.

With Federer having won in 2006, '07 and '10, Nadal taking the 2009 title and Djokovic winning four times since 2008, the last player not among those three to win the Australian Open was Marat Safin in 2005.

The 2014 Australia Open begins Monday and concludes with the men's singles final Jan. 26.

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