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Kyrgios draws well, tough for De Minaur

Australian Open 20180:55

Leo Schlink tells us what he is looking forward to seeing at this year’s Australian Open tennis tournament

Nick Kyrgios was on fire at the Brisbane International. Picture: Getty Images

Leo SchlinkHerald Sun

VICTORIAN teenager Destanee Aiava has been shunted into a daunting first-round Australian Open clash with world No 1 Simona Halep as a string of local hopes fared badly at a controversial televised draw.

Aiava’s appointment with Halep was among several leaked on social media before they were confirmed during the official draw broadcast.

Aiava, Matt Ebden, Jason Kubler, Alex De Minaur and Ajla Tomljanovic are among a cluster of Australian underdogs to be pitted into battle with seeded opponents.

Ebden drew US 16th seed John Isner, wildcard Kubler takes on Spanish 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta and De Minaur will tackle Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych.

Ajla Tomljanovic meets French Open and 29th seed Lucie Safarova, while Sam Stosur has a tough start against 2016 Rio gold medallist Monica Puig.

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Daria Gavrilova of Australia opens her campaign against a qualifier

Daria Gavrilova of Australia opens her campaign against a qualifierSource:AAP

Ashleigh Barty has lobbed in a difficult section, starting with Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka.

Daria Gavrilova will begin against a qualifier.

If Aiava stuns Halep, she would earn a shot at Eugenie Bouchard or France’s Oceane Dodin.

Nick Kyrgios has a notionally simpler path. He will play world No 100 Rogerio Dutra-Silva in what ought to be an untroubled opener before a projected third-round meeting with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Queenslander John Millman faces Croat Borna Coric, while Thanasi Kokkinakis plays gifted Russian Daniil Medvedev and Alex Bolt plays Serb Viktor Troicki.

Defending champion Roger Federer opens against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene while six-time winner Novak Djokovic plays American Donald Young.

Federer, who shared an epic final last season with Rafael Nadal, said his form in fifth set of that match was possibly the best of his career.

But he insists it is premature to contemplate a repeat clash with the Spaniard.

“Possibly, but this time we’re a long way away in the draw,” he said.

Nick Kyrgios opens against the world No 100

Nick Kyrgios opens against the world No 100Source:AAP

“So he’s (number) one, I’m (number) two so that means we have six matches to play (to meet in the final).

“So I don’t think both of us are thinking that far ahead but if it were to happen, of course. it could be happening again.

“Who knows?”

Djokovic says Federer is deserved favourite.

“Roger, obviously, with the year he had is the favourite,” he said.

“Nadal, he’s No 1 in the world and made the finals last year – I don’t think I would be ahead of him as a favourite.

“Obviously I’ve had great results here in the past but I’ll take it more modestly and see how it goes.”

Nadal opens against Victor Estrella-Burgos, of the Dominican Republic.

Sharapova, who missed last year’s Open while serving a ban after testing positive to banned substance Meldonium, said she still covets a return to the No 1 ranking.

She plays German Tatjana Maria first up.

Roger Federer’s title defence starts against Aljaz Bedene

Roger Federer’s title defence starts against Aljaz BedeneSource:Getty Images

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza meets France’s Jessika Ponchet

Australia’s singles contingent could be boosted with John Patrick Smith, Bernard Tomic, James Duckworth, Brad Mousley and Patricia Hon still in contention.


17-Nick Kyrgios v Rogerio Dutra-Silva (Bra)

Matt Ebden v 16-John Isner (US)

Alex De Minaur v 19-Tomas Berdych (Cze)

Jordan Thompson v Nicolas Kicker (Arg)

John Millman v Borna Coric (Cro)

Thanasi Kokkinakis v Daniil Medvedev (Rus)

Alex Bolt v Viktor Troicki (Srb)

Alexei Popyrin v Tim Smyczek (US)

Jason Kubler v 10-Pablo Carreno Busta (Spa)

18-Ashleigh Barty v Aryna Sabalenka (Blr)

23-Daria Gavrilova v qualifier

Sam Stosur v Monica Puig (Pur)

Destanee Aiava v 1-Simona Halep (Rom)

Jaimee Fourlis v Olivia Rogowksa

Ajla Tomljanovic v 29-Lucie Safarova (Cze)

Lizette Cabrera v Beatriz Haddad (Bra)


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