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Halep crashes out of Australian Open

  • Halep crashes out of Australian Open

    Simona Halep (pic) will face American Shelby Rogers in the first match of the 2017 Australian Open.

World No.4 Simona Halep will help launch the 2017 Australian Open when she meets American Shelby Rogers on Rod Laver Arena on Monday morning.

The fourth-seeded Romanian is one of the main challengers for this year's Open behind world No.1 and defending champion Angelique Kerber and 22-time grand slam winner Serena Williams.

"It's special to open the tournament actually on the biggest stadium," Halep said.

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"But I've played (that) before ... so it's OK.

"It's going to be a tough match. I will expect a good one."

Kerber will start her title defence on centre court against Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko on Monday evening, before Williams' campaign gets underway when she meets Belinda Bencic on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday.

In a bid to aid her preparation, Halep spent Christmas with coach Darren Cahill in Adelaide instead of shivering through temperatures well below freezing in her native Romania.

"I came earlier to Australia to try to get used to the heat ... in Romania, it's very cold," she said.

"In Romania, we were used to like a formal (Christmas) dinner. Everyone is very well dressed and you don't have to move much.

"I had a very different Christmas. It was fun."

In men's action, world No.1 Andy Murray will face Ukraine's Illya Marchenko on centre court on Monday afternoon.

Novak Djokovic, relegated to second seeding for the first time in three years, opens his bid for a record seventh title on Tuesday against Spanish dangerman Fernando Verdasco.

Roger Federer, seeded 17th, will play veteran qualifier Jurgen Melzer on Rod Laver Arena on Monday night.

Fourth-seeded Stan Wawrinka, facing Martin Klizan, fifth seed Kei Nishikori, who plays Andrey Kuznetsov, and Australia's two men's seeds - Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic - also feature on the day one program.

No.14 seed Kyrgios will face Portugal's Gastao Elias on Hisense Arena and Tomic, the 27th seed, meets Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci on Margaret Court Arena.

They are among eight Australians in action on Monday.

Wildcards Alex De Minaur, James Duckworth, Sam Groth, Ashleigh Barty, Destanee Aiava and Jaimee Fourlis are the other locals to play on the opening day.

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