Laura Robson to face Melanie Oudin, Heather Watson draws Alexandra Cadantu
Last Updated: January 14, 2013 6:51am
Laura Robson: Hoping for another good run in a Grand Slam
Laura Robson will face Melanie Oudin in the first round of the Australian Open.
And fellow-Brit Heather Watson was drawn against Romania's Alexandra Cadantu.
Oudin will hold no fears for Robson, who beat the American 6-3 6-4 in the first round of qualifying in Melbourne last year.
Oudin was tipped for great things a couple of years ago but has failed to make the breakthrough to the big time and is currently ranked 82 in the world.
The reward for the victor will be a clash with a Grand Slam winner - either former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone or 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
Robson will not mind taking either of them, with Kvitova in particular in dreadful form.
Watson had to pull out of the Hobart Open this week because of an elbow problem injury. On paper she is favourite to beat Cadantu, the world No 89.
But the pair did meet in a minor tournament in France last year, Cadantu winning 6-1 6-4.
If Watson prevails, Germany's Mona Barthel, the No 32 seed, is likely to be next, and the winner will face fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
Defending champion Victoria Azarenka has a tricky first round tie against Monica Niculescu of Romania.
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Niculescu beat Robson in China last week, and is one of the rising stars of the women's tour.
Azarenka will be in the same half of the draw as Serena Williams, most pundits' favourite to win the tournament after her superb second-half of the 2012 season when she won Wimbledon, Olympic gold and the US Open.
Williams will take on another Romanian, Edina Gallovits-Hall, first up.
Second seed Maria Sharapova, beaten in the final last year, will face fellow Russian Olga Puchkova in the first round.
Sharapova's most difficult obstacle in the first week may be Venus Williams, who she could meet in the third round.
Home hopes rest with Sam Stosur, the ninth seed, who famously struggles on Australian courts - and she will not have liked her first round draw.
Her opponent, Kai-Chen Chang of Taiwan, beat her the last time they met, in Osaka in October.
Full women's draw