Tough road for Aussie tennis stars

Steve Jancetic, NZ Newswire July 27, 2012, 12:52 am

Lleyton Hewitt has been handed a friendly London Olympics opener but, like his fellow Australian tennis stars, he faces a tall task to make an extended run towards the medals.

Ranked No.158, Hewitt will take on Ukraine's world No.94 Sergiy Stakhovsky in the first round at Wimbledon but is then drawn to meet tough Croatian Marin Cilic followed by world No.2 Novak Djokovic in the third round.

Youngster Bernard Tomic has a difficult opening match against Japan's 18th-ranked Kei Nishikori.

And, in the women's draw, world No.5 Sam Stosur will face 45th-ranked Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain but is then drawn against unseeded four-time grand slam winner Kim Clijsters.

Australian men's coach Todd Woodbridge was bullish about former world No.1 Hewitt's form after he lost a tight grass court final to American John Isner at Newport earlier this month.

But Woodbridge admitted the draw looked difficult for Hewitt.

"Lleyton's got a very winnable match, a tough section with Novak in that block at the bottom," Woodbridge said.

"We were hoping to get a section that he could open up because I think he's in good enough form to actually open a section up.

"But it's going to have to be a big win to go deep."

Stosur crushed Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-3 in the opening round at Wimbledon last month.

"There's a few dangerous floaters in the draw," Stosur's coach David Taylor said.

"Venus (Williams) isn't seeded and very successful on the surface at this venue and likewise Kim Clijsters."

In the women's doubles, Stosur and Casey Dellacqua will meet Spain's Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez while Jarmila Gajdosova and Anastasia Rodionova take on Russian pair Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

Men's top seed Roger Federer faces little-known Colombian Alejandro Falla first up in the men's singles.

Falla took the Swiss Master to five sets at Wimbledon two years ago.

Women's world No.1 Victoria Azarenka is up against Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu in her first round.

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