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Michael Taylor 18th Jan 2009 - 17:52

Australian Open Day One: Djokovic starts defence

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer top the bill on day one of the Australian Open as the first grand slam event of the year kicks off in style.

Along with Djokovic and Federer, other big names of world tennis take to the showcase courts on the first day of play including the current women's world number one Jelena Jankovic, 2005 Aussie Open winner Marat Safin and former world number one Andy Roddick, to name but a few.

Andy Murray has to wait a day before he gets going but there is some British interest in the shape of Melanie South and ever-improving Anne Keothavong.

Andrea Stoppini v Novak Djokovic [3]

Djokovic arrives in Melbourne as defending champion after picking up his first slam success a year ago in the Rod Laver Arena, and that is where he begins his campaign this time around.

The skillful Slovak is a resounding 1/50 favourite to dispatch little-known Italian Andrea Stoppini, which is something he should do with ease - with the sensible money being on Djokovic to win in three sets at 1/4.

Stoppini, ranked 220th in the world, has little chance of causing an upset, making the 12/1 about him winning unbackable.

Andreas Seppi v Roger Federer [2]

Like Djokovic, Federer is 1/50 to beat an Italian in the first round although Andreas Seppi carries a far better reputation than Stoppini.

The Fed-Express is the favourite to win the men's title outright and his match with world number 35 Seppi could be ideal preparation for the tougher ties that lie ahead.

In the three previous meetings between these players Federer has yet to drop a set and it is hard to see this pattern changing, so the 1/4 about a 3-0 victory should be a banker.

However, Seppi to win with a +9.5 game handicap could prove to be great value at 5/6, as the Italian possesses the ability to make life tricky for the Swiss superstar.

Jelena Jankovic [1] v Yvonne Meusburger

Jankovic can afford to take it easy in her first round match against little known Austrian, Meusburger.

'Jelly' has ambitions for a Grand Slam triumph this year after coming oh so close at the US Open and she should justify the 1/50 about her in this match by strolling to a straight sets victory.

Marat Safin [26] v Ivan Navarro

Safin has a great record at the Australian Open having followed up a runner-up performance in 2004 with a win in 2005, and although the big Russian has little chance of outright tournament success this year he should have enough to beat average Spaniard, Ivan Navarro.

Safin is a 1/8 shot to win through to the second round, while the best bet could be the 11/4 for Safin to win in four sets.

Andy Roddick [7] v Bjorn Rehnquist

A-rod had the ideal preparation for the Open by reaching the final of the final in Doha and while he came up short against Andy Murray, he did manage to defeat some top players along the way.

He may not have the credentials to go all the way this year but he will easily have enough to beat Rehnquist, thus he is priced at 1/33.

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