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Tomic, Hewitt the unseeded dangers

By AAP .
10 January 2013 04:02PM EST

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HAVING claimed six prized scalps already this summer, in-form local hopes Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt are the unseeded players to avoid at the Australian Open draw on Friday.

Every player in the men's draw, including world No.1 and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic, will be looking to steer clear of the resurgent Australian pair as they threaten to cause some early-round damage once again at Melbourne Park.

Tomic has made a mockery of his No.64 ranking over the past fortnight, taking down four of the Open's top 32 seeds during his hot summer run - Djokovic (1), Tommy Haas (20) and Andreas Seppi (22) at the Hopman Cup in Perth and Florian Mayer (26) in Sydney.

And despite his lowly No.82 ranking, Hewitt has already accounted for Tomas Berdych, the Open's fifth seed, and 14th seed Milos Raonic at the Kooyong Classic.

The top 32 men's and women's seeds are guaranteed a seed-free passage through to the third round in Melbourne.

But after also falling victim to Hewitt's charge to the round of 16 at last year's Open, big-serving Raonic said the injury-free former world No.1 was undoubtedly a dangerous floater to be avoided.

"He's one of the very few players who can go very long periods without playing and be just as competitive as ever," Raonic said on Thursday.

"I think he's moving better - you can see he's healthier. That's definitely one thing.

"The one thing you see of him inside Melbourne Park is another level of intensity and it brings out something extra in him.

"Even though I don't think he was physically as good last year, he was fighting a lot more pain throughout matches last year.

"He's a danger ... he's definitely more prepared this year than he was last year."

Tomic and Hewitt both made the last 16 of the Open last year unseeded and, with some luck in the draw, a repeat could be on the cards.

Tomic said he was feeling more confident in his game now than even when he made the Wimbledon quarter-finals 18 months ago.

"I want to get on court and win matches and do well," he said.

"I know the Australian Open's coming up really soon and I'm feeling really confident."

Samantha Stosur is Australia's only Open seed at No.9 in the women's event.

But after first-round losses in Brisbane and Sydney, even Stosur was hoping for some protection in the 128-player draw.

"No doubt a bigger draw, there is a wide range of players that you can come up against," Stosur said.

"It's top 30 almost (in Brisbane and Sydney) and that's it."

The draw takes place at Melbourne's Crown Casino from 10am Friday AEDT.

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