Australia’s tennis stars have been handed horror draws for the US Open starting on Monday, with former women’s champion Samantha Stosur the only realistic hope of reaching the second week.
Marinko Matosevic copped the worst of it, striking in-form second seed and 17-times major winner Roger Federer in the opening round, while Lleyton Hewitt, Bernard Tomic and young gun Nick Kyrgios also have their work cut out at the season’s final major.
Contesting his 14th and possibly last US Open, 33-year-old Hewitt – the 2001 men’s champion at Flushing Meadows – has drawn big-hitting sixth seed Tomas Berdych in the first round.
Tomic has a most winnable opener against world No.98 Dustin Brown, but is projected to meet fourth seed David Ferrer in the second round.
Tasked with the impossible assignment of trying to follow up his giant-killing upset of then-world No.1 Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon last month, Kyrgios has drawn two-time Open semi-finalist and 21st seed Mikhail Youzhny.
Stosur, seeded 24th this year, opens against American Lauren Davis.
Spanish 15th seed Carla Suarez Navarro is Stosur’s first seeded obstacle in her path if both make the third round, while world No.1 Serena Williams is likely to be lying in wait in the fourth round.
Seeded for the first time at a grand slam event, 29th seed Casey Dellacqua plays little-known Austrian Patricia Mayr-Achleitner in the first round.