Novak Djokovic remains as Ash Barty, Nick Kyrgios handed tough assignments


It wasn’t your typical Australian Open draw – but then again, nothing about this week has been typical.

Originally slated for 3pm, proceedings were abruptly pushed back more than an hour, literally while journalists were already queuing outside the doors and thousands of fans had tuned in on the livestream.

With Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaking at 3.45pm, there was speculation that the delay in the draw was to do with an announcement relating to Novak Djokovic – instead, that proved a red herring and the draw continued on, with a black cloud still hanging over the world’s best male player.

READ MORE: Journalist told vax question off limits in Djokovic interview

READ MORE: England’s ‘poisoned chalice’ set to cripple Test team beyond Ashes

READ MORE: Olympic medallist Deon Lendore dead aged 29

The world No.1 will face fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the opening round, with either a qualifier or American Tommy Paul after that. A third round match-up with Lorenzo Sonego could be on the cards, but what’s certain is the final cannot be against Rafael Nadal, who was drawn on the same side.

The pair could meet in the semi-finals, if Nadal were to negotiate his quadrant, including world No.3 Alexander Zverev. The king of clay’s first opponent will be Marcos Giron, with Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis his likely opponent in the second round.

This is, of course, assuming Djokovic is allowed to stay in the country.

If Djokovic is forced out of the tournament before Monday’s order of play is released, fifth seed Andrey Rublev will move into Djokovic’s spot in the draw, 17th seed Gael Monfils would take Rublev’s spot, and Alexander Bublik would be added as the 33rd seed, replacing Monfils.

If he is barred after the order of play is published, a lucky loser from the qualifiers will come straight in for Djokovic.

Tough draw for Barty

Ash Barty could face a tricky proposition the fourth round, being drawn in the same section of the draw as Naomi Osaka, who dropped out of the top eight in the rankings and finds herself on a collision course with the world No.1. Barty’s first possible seeded opponent will come in the third round, against 30th seed Camila Giorgi.

Barty’s first round opponent will be a qualifier who is yet to be named, and her second round opponent will either be Russia’s Varvara Gracheva, or another qualifier.

Osaka, a former World No.1 and four-time major-winner, has not played since exiting the US Open in the third round until an appearance at last week’s Summer Set, where she reached the semis before withdrawing with an injury.

Now ranked outside the top eight, she presented a dangerous option for whichever of the top seeds was unfortunate enough to get her in the their part of the draw.

Barty’s doubles partner Storm Sanders could do her a massive favour in the opening round, as she was matched with world number two Aryna Sabalenka.

Ajla Tomljanovic has a tough first assignment, being paired with eighth seed Paula Badosa, and Sam Stosur, in her final singles appearance at the Open, faces American Robin Anderson.

Wildcards Maddison Inglis and Priscilla Hon each drew a seeded opponent first in Canada’s Leylah Fernandez and Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova, respectively.

Astra Sharma faces Clara Tauson and Daria Saville (formerly Gavrilova) plays Rebecca Peterson.

Kokkinakis, Millman and Kyrgios poised for massive second round clashes

As mentioned above, Kokkinakis is in line to face Nadal in the second round, while Nick Kyrgios will face second seed Daniil Medvedev at the same stage, should he navigate his was past a qualifier, and the red-hot Russian does likewise against Henri Laaksonen.

John Millman will play Feliciano Lopez in his opening match, with a second rounder against Zverev likely awaiting him should he be victorious.

The only seeded Australian, Alex de Minaur, squares off with Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti.

The other Australian men in the draw include Aleksandar Vukic, who plays South Africa’s Lloyd Harris, Jordan Thompson goes up against American Steve Johnson, and Alex Bolt plays Spanish young gun Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who enjoyed a spirited run to the quarters at least year’s French Open.

The remaining three Australians all have French opponents; Alexei Popyrin, Chris O’Connell and James Duckworth play Arthur Rinderknech, Hugo Gaston and Adrian Mannarino, respectively.

Battle of champions in first round

Sloane Stephens, who has suffered a steady drop in the rankings since winning the US Open in 2017 and reaching the final of Wimbledon the following year, was drawn against Emma Raducanu, the reigning US Open champion.

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!


Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Yours Headline is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.