Sport

Open draw revealed: Kyrgios to face world No.81

Nick Kyrgios of Australia at the Hopman Cup.
Nick Kyrgios of Australia at the Hopman Cup. TONY MCDONOUGH

TENNIS: Australia's highest-ranked player Nick Kyrgios will face Portugal's world No.81 Gastao Elias in the first round of the Australian Open.

The draw, which was announced on Friday, pits 14th seed Kyrgios against Andreas Seppi or another veteran in Paul-Henri Mathieu should he beat Elias.

A quarter-finalist in 2015, Kyrgios could face former champion and world No.4 Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round.

But first Kyrgios could meet fellow Aussie Sam Groth in the third round.

Australia's only other men's seed Bernard Tomic plays Brazilian baseliner Thomaz Bellucci in the first round and has Marin Cilic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Jack Sock in his section.

Injury-struck Thanasi Kokkinakis will miss the tournament.

He said he was "absolutely gutted".

"Just can't seem to get my body right," he tweeted.

Australian teen wildcards Omar Jasika and Alex De Minaur have made their first local grand slam draw.

Jasika faces Spain's 21st seed David Ferrer, while De Minaur meets Austrian Gerald Melzer.

World No.1 Andy Murray has Ilya Marchenko first up, while six-time winner Novak Djokovic plays Fernando Verdasco, the Spaniard who upset Rafael Nadal in the first round last year and held five match points against Djokovic in Doha last week.

Seeded 17th, four-time champion Roger Federer has a qualifier first up, while fellow Swiss Wawrinka plays Martin Klizan of Slovakia.

Australia's top two women Samantha Stosur and Daria Gavrilova have landed in the same quarter of the draw and have tough opening rounds.

Stosur, the tournament's 18th seed who has ventured to the last 16 just twice in 14 previous attempts, faces Britain's Heather Watson first up, while 22nd seed Gavrilova meets another Brit in Naomi Broady.

Gavrilova has been presented the best chance to make a run, but fourth-seeded US Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova shapes as a formidable obstacle in round four.

Victory over Broady, the world No.95, would likely set up a second-round meeting with Kristina Mladenovic, the Frenchwoman Gavrilova beat in the last 32 in 2016.

Stosur won't be looking beyond the 75th-ranked Watson, but Australia's former US Open champion could strike third seed Agnieszka Radwanska if she makes the fourth round.

Six-time champion Serena Williams has drawn former world No.7 Belinda Bencic, the talented young Swiss on the comeback from injury.

Second-seeded Williams potentially has to pass 2015 French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova, sixth seed Dominika Cibulkova, Radwanska or Pliskova to make a final showdown with world No.1 Angelique Kerber.

Topics:  australian open bernard tomic daria gavrilova nick kyrgios sam stosur summer of tennis


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