Djokovic faces Shardy, Kenin meets Inglis in the Australian Open
MELBOURNE – Novak Djokovic begins defending the Australian Open title against Frenchman Jeremy Shardy, while women’s champion Sophia Kenin meets substitute Madison Inglis after the draw for this year’s first major tournament on Friday.
World number one Djokovic won the eighth title in Melbourne Park last year by beating third seed Dominic Thiem and facing Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the first round.
Rafa Nadal, who has been looking for his first major tournament title since 2009, will meet Serbia’s Laslo Jr in his opening match.
The Spaniard is tied with 20 Grand Slam titles with Roger Federer and wants to beat the Swiss champion, who will not play this year after knee surgery.
The highest-rated Ash Party continues to strive to become the first domestic Australian Open winner since 1978, when it takes on 24-year-old Danka Kovinic.
American Serena Williams, who wants to win the record-breaking 24th Grand Prix, meets Laura Sigmund in the opening round.
2019 champion Naomi Osaka will play a series of potentially challenging matches starting with a showdown against former quarter-final champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
In the next two rounds, Japanese player Caroline Garcia and Ons Jaber could face a possible confrontation with Garbin Muguruza or Angelique Kerber in the fourth round.
Romanian Simona Halep, runner-up, who reached the final three years ago in Melbourne Park, will play Lisette Cabrera, while fifth-seeded Ukrainian Elena Svitolina will face Mary Bozkova.
ATP Finals champion Daniel Medvedev, who lost in the fourth round over the past two years, meets Canadian Vasek Pospisil as young defenders Jannik Sinner and Denis Shapovalov prepare for what promises to be a great start.
Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas faces a tough test against veteran Frenchman Gilles Simon, while Alexander Zverev and Andre Rublev face relatively easier first rounds against Marcus Giron and Yannick Hanfman respectively.
Iga Swiatik, who made great strides last year by winning the French Open title, faces Dutchman Arantxa Ross, while Venus Williams plays Christine Flipkins.
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