2019's first grand slam, Australian Open will be underway in a few days from now. The men and women's drew have been revealed. Some of the major players' and their opening encounter are as follows:
World number one and Serbia's Novak Djokovic will play his first match of the Australian Open -- which commences from January 14 -- against a qualifier. Switzerland's Roger Federer will face Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin. This will be their seventh faceoff.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal will commence his calendar year facing local James Duckworth. It will be the first clash between both the players. After a injury-hit 2018, Nadal will like to take down his opposition and proceed ahead in the tournament.
If Nadal cruises through, which he should most likely, he will be up against another local, Matthew Ebden or Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff. In the quarter-finals, he could meet Australia's Alex De Minaur (26), Argentina's Diego Schwartzman (18) and the United Kingdom's Kyle Edmund (13).
There is a possibility of Nadal versus Federer in the latter stages of the tournament. Meanwhile, Croatia's Marin Cilic (6) will play Australia's Bernard Tomic in the first round.
Djokovic could go on to meet Canada's Denis Shapovalov (25) in the third round, Russia's Daniil Medvedev (15) in the round of 16 and Japan's Kei Nishikori (9) in the quarter-finals.
Fifth-ranked and Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro will miss the Australian Open due to a kneecap injury. He had sustained the injury during last October's Shanghai Masters.
In the women's category, world No. 1 Romania's Simona Halep will face Estonia's Kaia Kanepi in the first round.
Halep was the runners-up in the previous edition wherein she lost to Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki. The defending champion will play against Belgium's Alison Van Uytvanck in her opening match.
If Wozniacki makes it past the first two rounds, she could meet Russia's Maria Sharapova (30) in the third.
Seven time Australian Open champion Serena Williams will return to the tournament after missing it last year. The US Open runners-up is in line to level with Magaret Court if she wins the title. If Serena claims the trophy, it will be her eighth Australian Open and 24th overall (along with Magaret).
In the later rounds, Halep could face Spain's Garbine Muguruza, Belgium's Elise Mertens and Ukraine's Elina Svitolina or Suarez and Williams.
Puerto Rico's Monica Puig will open her campaign against Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega