Hometown hope Stosur gets luck of draw
MELISSA WOODS AND DARREN WALTON
Samantha Stosur has a fighting chance of salvaging her summer after being handed a promising draw for the Australian Open starting on Monday.
While Lleyton Hewitt opens against Serbian eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic first up and Bernard Tomic could strike 17-times grand slam champion Roger Federer in round three, Stosur fared somewhat better at Friday's draw in Melbourne.
Stosur will play Taiwan's world No.86 Kai-Chen Chang in the first round and has landed on the opposite side of the draw as top seed and defending champion Victoria Azarenka and title favourite Serena Williams.
In the second round, Stosur could meet Jie Zheng, China's former Australian Open and Wimbledon semi-finalist who beat the Queenslander this week in Sydney.
If the world No 9 can find some form and win her first two matches, she is projected to face German 18th seed Julia Goerges in round three.
Chinese sixth seed Li Na is Stosur's projected last-16 opponent, with Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska or German fifth seed Angelique Kerber probably awaiting the Australian in the quarter-finals.
Azarenka opens up against Romanian Monica Niculescu, while third seed Williams also plays a Romanian, Edina Gallovits-Hall.
Azarenka and Williams are headed for a semi-final showdown, with Russian second seed Maria Sharapova the highest-ranked player in Stosur's bottom half of the draw.
If Hewitt can continue his strong form from the Kooyong Classic and upset Tipsarevic, who is under an injury cloud, the former world No.1 would have a great opportunity to make a deep run.
The 2005 runner-up would play Luxembourg's Gilles Muller or Slovak Lukas Lacko in the second round, with Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer his highest-ranked rival in his quarter.
Tomic will take on Argentine Leonardo Mayer first up and would not be looking beyond the mighty Federer in the third round.
Second seed Federer and third seed Murray are on the same side of the draw, with Hewitt landing in the top half with world No 1 and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic.
Bidding for an unprecedented Open men's hat-trick, Djokovic will commence his title defence against Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu.
Federer will play Frenchman Benoit Paire and Murray opens against Dutchman Robin Haase.
Third-seeded Murray is likely to have one eye on Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro, who looms as a possible quarter-final opponent.
In the women's draw, Williams faces a potential quarter-final clash against former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. Second seeded Russian Maria Sharapova opens against compatriot Olga Puchkova.