Novak's tough test — Men's draw

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Even if the six-time Australian Open champion should clear all those hurdles he could encounter 2017 champion Roger Federer in the semifinals.

Whenever the subject of equal pay arises in the sport, critics often point to the fact that the men play best-of-five during the majors as one reason they should walk away with more prize money.

Tunisian Ons Jabeur is in Halep's quarter and opens her campaign against No. 16 seed Elena Vesnina. "I'm just going to go out there, try to weather the storm, and try to play my game", De Minaur said.

Their replacement - a 'lucky loser' from the qualifying tournament - will get the other 50 percent of the first-round prize money. Djokovic has won 10 of his last 13 matches on hard court.

The Swiss legend, who starts as favourite to win his 20th Grand Slam title, has been handed a tough draw as he could face either 22nd seed Milos Raonic or 13th seed Sam Querrey as early as in the fourth round. To succeed at the majors, endurance and stamina have become an increasingly necessary ingredient as baseline play has come to dominate the game. He had an exceptional 2017, winning seven titles, including two Slams - the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

If you wish for a deeper engagement with the region, Flanders also lends well to cycling. Forty six players in the main draw this time are in their thirties again showing that power play and aces just do not make a great tennis player. An extension of the trend is not out of the question with Maria Sharapova unseeded in Melbourne. Has a very high level.

Roger Federer returns to defend his title while Serena Williams will be in Florida with her baby girl. He triggered improvements in others too.

With no Andy Murray - the Scot recently underwent hip surgery - things look much easier, on paper at least, for Nadal, who lost to Federer in last year's final.

Dominic Thiem withdrew from a scheduled match at the Kooyong Classic on Thursday as he recovers from a virus, disrupting the world number five's build-up to the Australian Open.

And when Djokovic made grass - a surface which Andre Agassi called "ice slathered with Vaseline" - feel like clay, leaving not a single blade uncovered, Federer was left with no choice but to shore up his defence. In the meantime, you can see the quarters below. Additional watch-ability, for one.

"I had a great opponent, it was a test for me to see where I am, how the work we did pays off on court". So is Djokovic's match-up against World No. 1 Nadal.

Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 winner, meets Ricardas Berankis, while fourth seed Alexander Zverev has been drawn against Thomas Fabbiano.

"I think he's actually a really nice guy", Federer told Channel Nine when asked about the mercurial 22-year-old.

It was Nadal's fifth tiebreak in three days at the venue, after he headlined the Tiebreak Tens event on Wednesday night.

It was naturally a welcome news to Australian Open director Craig Tiley.

"But based on what I've seen so far..."

"Of course well deserved for him".

Melbourne is familiar territory and a fully-fit Djokovic is near-invincible here.