Tennis: Top seeds hoping to avoid in form Aussie duo at Open

Australia's Bernard Tomic. Photo / AP
Australia's Bernard Tomic. Photo / AP

Having claimed six prized scalps already this summer, in-form Aussie hopes Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt are the unseeded players to avoid at the Australian Open draw today.

Every player in the men's draw, including world No1 and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic, will be looking to steer clear of the resurgent Australian pair as they threaten to cause some early-round damage once again at Melbourne Park.

Tomic has made a mockery of his No64 ranking over the past fortnight, taking down four of the Open's top 32 seeds during his hot summer run - Djokovic (1), Tommy Haas (20) and Andreas Seppi (22) at the Hopman Cup in Perth and Florian Mayer (26) at the Sydney International.

And despite his lowly No82 ranking, Hewitt has already accounted for Tomas Berdych, the Open's fifth seed, and 14th-seed Milos Raonic at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne.

The top 32 men's and women's seeds are guaranteed a seed-free passage through to the third round at the Australian Open.

But after also falling victim to Hewitt's charge to the round of 16 at last year's Open, big-serving Raonic said the injury-free former world No1 was undoubtedly a dangerous floater to be avoided.

"He's one of the very few players who can go very long periods without playing and be just as competitive as ever," Raonic said yesterday.

"I think he's moving better - you can see he's healthier. The one thing you see of him inside Melbourne Park is another level of intensity and it brings out something extra in him.

"Even though I don't think he was physically as good last year, he was fighting a lot more pain throughout matches last year.

"He's a danger ... he's definitely more prepared this year than he was last year."

Tomic and Hewitt both made the last 16 of the Open last year unseeded and, with some luck in the draw, a repeat could be on the cards.

Samantha Stosur is Australia's only Open seed at No9 in the women's event. But after first-round losses in Brisbane and Sydney, even Stosur was hoping for some protection in the 128-player draw.

"It's top 30 almost (in Brisbane and Sydney) and that's it."

The draw takes place today from noon (NZT).

- AAP

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