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Five key takeaways from Australian Open 2024 draw

Published at :January 11, 2024 at 8:56 PM
Modified at :January 14, 2024 at 12:03 AM
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Mohammed Fazeel

Novak Djokovic could square up against Stefanos Tsitsipas in a mouthwatering quarterfinal

With the Australian Open 2024 drawn out, players returning with protected rankings or unseeded, and many players making a comeback from injuries or maternity breaks, early results could throw up a few surprises. Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will not meet until the final on the men’s side, the same is true for Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka on the women’s side.  

If Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner are to reach the final, they will need to go through Djokovic or Alcaraz. The same holds for Elena Rybakina and Coco Gauff, who find either Swiatek or Sabalenka in their half of the draw.

Potential Novak Djokovic-Stefanos Tsitsipas rematch on the cards

Defending champion Novak Djokovic’s bid for a record 11th Australian Open title could see him play a third-round match-up against Andy Murray and a quarterfinal game against 2023 finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas. Murray faces 30th seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the opening round.

Others in the Serbian’s half of the draw are 2014 winner Stan Wawrinka and Ben Shelton. Not to be forgotten is Jannik Sinner, who may be standing across the net should the World No. 1 reach the semifinals.

Tough draw for Iga Swiatek

The women’s singles first round will start off with some gripping matches, including a rematch of the 2020 Roland Garros final between World No.1 Iga Swiatek and former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin. Three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber will begin her campaign against Danielle Collins, who defeated Swiatek in the 2022 semifinals at Melbourne Park.    

Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko are the other seeded players in Swiatek’s side of the draw.

Aryna Sabalenka is blessed with a relatively easy draw

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka could meet Ons Jabeur in the quarterfinals, but until then, she has a relatively clear run as she is in the bottom half of the draw. She begins her title defense against Romanian qualifier Ana Bogdan and a potential third-round clash with Lesia Tsurenko. The earliest she will face a serious challenge could be in the form of Coco Gauff in the semifinal round.

Alex De Minaur – the new Aussie hope

Alex De Minaur, nicknamed demon, has seen the back of three top ten players in the recently concluded United Cup, upstaging 10th-ranked Taylor Fritz, world No.1 Novak Djokovic and seventh-ranked Alexander Zverev. He has now broken into the top ten.

His path to the fourth round will take him past unseeded Canadian Milos Raonic, either Aussie wildcard Adam Walton or Matteo Arnaldi in the second round, followed by a likely encounter with No. 18 seed Nicolas Jarry.

With De Minaur’s presence the wait for the first Australian male champion since Mark Edmondson in 1976 could end.

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Raducanu lands a favourable draw

After benefiting from a late automatic entry spot into the Australian Open, and withdrawing from two exhibition events as a precaution, Emma Raducanu has reason to be optimistic about the Australian Open draw. First, she will be facing World No. 156 Shelby Rogers, who, like Raducanu, had to undergo surgery in 2023 and has been out of action since July.

Raducanu lost just three games to the American when she last met Rogers en route to her US Open victory in 2021. The 21-year-old Briton, who had wrist and ankle surgeries last May, could find herself playing another Brit, Katie Boulter in the third round. Raducanu’s potential second-round opponent could be Sorana Cirstea, whom she beat in their only previous encounter in straight sets. 

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