Drawn to succeed

  • Last Updated: June 21 2013, 12:54 BST

Friday's Wimbledon draw has been kind to the favourites for both the men's and women's singles.

Roger Federer: The big loser in the draw
Roger Federer: The big loser in the draw

Novak Djokovic was a top price 11/8 (Coral) at midday having hardened following the news that he was in the opposite side of the draw to Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray!

A 7/4 chance this morning, the superb Serb does face a tricky first-round match against Florian Mayer, the man he beat in the quarter-finals last year, while his projected route to that stage includes a potential clash with 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych and a semi-final against David Ferrer.

The draw also gave a helping hand to the women's favourite, Serena Williams, although there has been little change to the American star's price with Sky Bet and Paddy Power best at 1/2.

Top seed Williams was placed in the opposite half to her two main rivals, Maria Sharapova (15/2, Youwin) and Victoria Azarenka (8/1, general).

She has instead been placed on course for a semi-final meeting with fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska (70/1, Youwin). Such a match would be a repeat of last year's final, won in three sets by Williams.

The American, seeking a sixth title in SW19, will open against Mandy Minella on Tuesday and could also have to beat Sam Stosur (150/1, Boylesports) and Angelique Kerber (100/1, Youwin) to reach the last four. Radwanska is in former French Open champion Li Na's (70/1, Youwin) quarter.

Former champion Sharapova, seeded third this year, was drawn in second seed Azarenka's half so they are on course to meet in the other semi.

Sharapova starts with a first-round clash against France's Kristina Mladenovic on Monday and is seeded to meet Sara Errani (350/1, Boylesports) in the last eight. Azarenka, one of only three players to beat Williams in the last 13 months, will open her title bid against Maria Koehler on the same day and could face former champion Petra Kvitova (25/1, Boylesports) in the quarter-finals.

Andy Murray (15/4, Youwin) will not have to play Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon quarter-finals - with the Spaniard facing a potential last-eight showdown with Roger Federer (9/1, Youwin).

Having been seeded only fifth, Nadal (5/1, Boylesports, Youwin) was the man the other big guns wanted to avoid in Friday's draw.

Murray dodged that bullet, landing in the same quarter as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (39/1, 888sport), the man he beat in last year's semi-finals and also the last four at Queen's Club last week. However, he is seeded to face the winner of Nadal v Federer in the semis.

The British star will open his campaign against German Benjamin Becker - another player he beat at Queen's - on Monday and could meet compatriot James Ward in round two. Wild-card Ward faces world number 74 Yen-Hsun Lu first. Murray's first seeded foe is scheduled to be Spain's Tommy Robredo, while Serb Janko Tipsarevic is a potential last-16 opponent.

Defending champion Federer was the loser in the draw, landing the same quarter as his old rival Nadal, the man he played in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 finals.

The seven-time winner could now have to beat Nadal, Murray and Novak Djokovic back-to-back in order to retain the title. He will open his bid for a record eighth crown against Romania's Victor Hanescu. Nadal will meet Steve Darcis, of Belgium.

Other first-round highlights include former champion Lleyton Hewitt against world number 10 Stanislas Wawrinka and Queen's runner-up Marin Cilic against former semi-finalist Marcos Baghdatis.

The draw could have been a lot kinder to the British.

The other Brit in the men's draw, teenager Kyle Edmund, faces the big-serving Pole Jerzy Janowicz, the 24th seed, in what will be his Grand Slam debut while the women's number one, Laura Robson, was handed a tough opener against 10th seed Maria Kirilenko.

Heather Watson also has a tricky first-round assignment against rising American star Madison Keys, a player ranked four places higher than her.

The third-ranked Briton, Johanna Konta, plays former world number one Jelena Jankovic, while Tara Moore meets Estonia's Kaia Kanepi, a Wimbledon quarter-finalist back in 2010.

In-form Elena Baltacha, a winner of an ITF tournament in Nottingham last week, will meet former top-10 star Flavia Pennetta, while Samantha Murray also faces an Italian, Camila Giorgi.

The other British competitor in the main draw, Anne Keothavong, takes on Spaniard Garbine Muguruza.