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Australian Open draw 2016: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer in top half; Rafael Nadal gets risky opener

Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco is the highlight of the opening round of the 2016 Australian Open.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 Australian Open is the first of the four major Grand Slams and it's set to get underway on Monday, Jan. 18. The tournament will run through Jan. 31 and there is plenty reason to be excited for the big matchups. Most of the big names you'd expect to be in action will be, including top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams.

On Thursday evening, in the United States, the tournament unveiled the full draw for both men's and women's singles and there is a lot worth discussing this early on in the process. Where Djokovic will clash with folks like Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and others is big. Most of those guys will see each other in the quarterfinals and onward, but early on there are some good matches to pay attention to as well.

For one, an opening round between Fernando Verdasco and Nadal, the tournament's fifth seed, could be exciting. Verdasco has historically played his compatriot hard and Nadal could find himself in trouble well before a potential Round of 16 match against, say, No. 23 seed Gael Monfils.

Notable Australian Lleyton Hewitt will face compatriot James Duckworth in the opening round, which is interesting given Hewitt has been something of a mentor to Duckworth over the years. Bernard Tomic, another Austrlian, will face Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin in the opening round. Tomic is Australia's top hope on the men's side, and he finds himself in the same quarter as Andy Murray, the tournament's No. 2 seed.

Samantha Stosur is the top Australian women in the tournament. She will face a qualifier in the first round, but could take on Monica Puig, who took her out of the Sydney International, in the second round.

Djokovic will face Hyeon Chung in the opening round. Federer, the third seed,  is in the top half of the bracket with DJokovic and will face Nikoloz Basilashvili in his first match. Feder faces a potential tall task in the third round in Grigor Dimitrov. Other notable first-round matches include Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. No. 7 Kei Nishikori and No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Marcos Baghdatis.

The full draw for the men can be found here, and the full draw for the women here. Below, some pertinent opening-round matchups for top seeds from both brackets.

Men's Singles

No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. Hyeon Chung
No. 2 Andy Murray vs. Alexander Averev
No. 3 Roger Federer vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili
No. 4 Stan Wawrinka vs. Dmitry Tursunov
No. 5 Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco
No. 6 Tomas Berdych vs. Yuki Bhambri
No. 7 Kei Nishikori vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber
No. 8 David Ferrer vs. Qualifier
No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Marcos Baghdatis
No. 10 John Isner vs. Jerzy Janowicz

Women's Singles

No. 1 Serena Williams vs. Camila Giorgi
No. 2 Simona Halep vs. Qualifier
No. 3 Garbine Muguruza vs. Anett Kontaveit
No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Christina McHale
No. 5 Maria Sharapova vs. Nao Hibino
No. 6 Petro Kvitova vs. Qualifer
No. 7 Angelique Kerber vs. Misaki Doi
No. 8 Venus Williams vs. Johanna Konta
No. 9 Karolina Pliskova vs. Kimberly Birrell
No. 10 Carlo Suarez Navarro vs. Qualifer