Djokovic shortens for Australian Open after Thiem exhibition victory
Muguruza battling a thigh injury
Novak Djokovic is on course to compete in the Australian Open after coming through an exhibition match against Dominic Thiem and the 12-time Grand Slam champion is now second-favourite with some bookmakers to regain his Melbourne crown.
The Serbian showcased his fitness as he beat Thiem 6-1 6-4 in Kooyong following an elbow problem that ruled him out of the second half of last season.
Djokovic then contested the Tie Break Tens event in Melbourne, won by Tomas Berdych, where he lost to Aussie legend Lleyton Hewitt.
While Djokovic is on course, Garbine Muguruza's Melbourne campaign is in doubt after she withdrew from the WTA Sydney International with a thigh injury.
The Wimbledon champion beat Kiki Bertens in straight sets but has opted to rest as a precaution and she should still be fit for next week.
The best bet of Friday morning could come in qualifying for the Australian Open when Bernard Tomic takes on Tommy Paul.
Tomic's stock has fallen so low that the former top-20 player has dropped to a ranking of 142 and Tennis Australia refused to hand him a main-draw wildcard. He dismissed Vincent Millot on Wednesday but Paul represents a tougher challenge.
The American, like Tomic a junior Slam champion, showed excellent form when reaching back-to-back quarter-finals in Atlanta and Washington last summer. He has the game to trouble Tomic and should be backed.
2pts 9-4 Hills
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