Sport Tennis Hewitt meets compatriot, Stosur to face qualifier

Hewitt meets compatriot, Stosur to face qualifier

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Retiring Australian star Lleyton Hewitt will play countryman James Duckworth in the first round of his 20th and final Australian Open.

Hewitt, who announced last year that 2016 would be his final campaign at Melbourne Park, was drawn against the 23-year-old Duckworth.

“It’s a dream first round for the event, that Hewitt and Duckworth match up,” Tennis Australia chief executive and tournament director Craig Tiley said.

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Both players received wildcards into the main draw and the winner of the encounter is likely to face the daunting task of meeting eighth seed David Ferrer in the second round.

Australia’s 16th seed and highest-ranked player, Bernard Tomic, was drawn against Uzbek veteran Denis Istomin first up, while 29th seed Nick Kyrgios will play world number 67 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain.

The big-serving Sam Groth will face a stern test if he can get past Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, with world number two Andy Murray looming in the second round.

Top seed and reigning champion Novak Djokovic will start his push for a sixth Australian title against 51st-ranked South Korean Hyeon Chung, while third seed Roger Federer’s first match will be against Georgian world number 117 Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Fifth seed Rafael Nadal’s opener will be a rematch of the epic 2009 semi-final against Fernando Verdasco.

On the women’s side of the draw, Samantha Stosur, seeded 25th in Melbourne, will meet a qualifier in the first round.

Stosur could run into Monica Puig, the Puerto Rican who knocked the 2011 US Open champion out of the Sydney International this week, in round two and then fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in round three.

Australian number two Daria Gavrilova faces Lucie Hradecka in her opener and could strike Czech sixth seed Petra Kvitova in the second round.

World number one and defending champion Serena Williams will launch her quest for a seventh title against Italian Camila Giorgi.

First round match-ups involving Australians

Bernard Tomic [16] v Denis Istomin
Nick Kyrgios [29] v Pablo Carreno Busta
Lleyton Hewitt v James Duckworth
Omar Jasika v Illya Marchenko
Jordan Thompson v Thomaz Bellucci
Matt Ebden v Marcel Granollers
John Millman v Diego Schwartzman
Sam Groth v Adrian Mannarino

Samantha Stosur [25] v Qualifier
Ajla Tomljanovic v Kateryna Bondarenko
Daria Gavrilova v Lucie Hradecka
Storm Sanders v Alexandra Dulgheru
Priscilla Hon v Annika Beck
Maddison Inglis v Ekaterina Makarova [21]
Kim Birrell v Karolina Pliskova [9]
Jarmila Wolfe v Qualifier
Tammi Patterson v Ana Ivanovic [20]

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