Sport Tennis Australian Open draw: Kyrgios receives kind draw, not so for Stosur, Gavrilova
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Australian Open draw: Kyrgios receives kind draw, not so for Stosur, Gavrilova

Nick Kyrgios Hopman Cup
Nick Kyrgios has a reasonable draw, up until the fourth round where he could meet Stan Wawrinka. Photo: AAP/Tony McDonough
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Nick Kyrgios has been handed a draw befitting his high seed for the Australian Open, but friend and compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis was forced out by injury.

Fourteenth-seeded Kyrgios, who is Australia’s top-ranked male player, will meet world number 81 Gastao Elias in the first round and, should he reach the third round, could face compatriot Sam Groth, who start against Belgium’s Steve Darcis.

Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, with whom Kyrgios has something of a rivalry, could then be next on the cards.

Bernard Tomic, struggling for form of late, will play Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.

Meanwhile, Australia’s women’s seeds both face Britons.

Seed number 18 Samantha Stosur faces Heather Watson, while 22nd seed Daria Gavrilova is matched up with Naomi Broady.

Unfortunately for the Australian tilt, 20-year-old Kokkinakis has failed to overcome injury yet again and will miss the tournament.

“Absolutely guttered (sic) to withdraw again from the best tournament in the world @AustralianOpen … just can’t seem to get my body right #soon,” he tweeted.

Australia’s top two women’s hopes will be doing well to reach the second week, let alone clash for a semi-final berth, after being handed a rugged path through the opening rounds.

Stosur, the tournament’s 18th seed who has ventured to the last 16 just twice in 14 previous attempts, faces Heather Watson first up, while 22nd seed Gavrilova also meets a Brit in Naomi Broady.

australian open draw
Daria ‘Dasher’ Gavrilova might meet Sam Stosur. Photo: Getty

Gavrilova has been presented the best chance to make a run, but fourth-seeded US Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova shapes as a formidable obstacle in round four.

Victory over Broady, the world No.95, would likely set up a second-round meeting with Kristina Mladenovic, the Frenchwoman Gavrilova beat in the last 32 in 2016.

With her sorry record at her home slam, Stosur won’t be looking beyond the 75th-ranked Watson, but Australia’s former US Open champion could strike third seed Agnieszka Radwanska if she makes the fourth round for the third time.

But if Stosur thinks her draw was rough, she could have fared worse – just ask Serena Williams.

The six-times champion has drawn the most dangerous floater in the women’s draw, former world No.7 Belinda Bencic, the talented young Swiss on the comeback from injury.

To net a seventh crown at 35, second-seeded Williams will likely need to do it the hard way with 2015 French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova, sixth seed Dominika Cibulkova, Radwanska or Pliskova all potentially blocking the American’s path to another final showdown with world No.1 Angelique Kerber.

The German begins her title defence against Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine.

Who do the Aussies play?

Men’s singles, first round

14 [seed] -Nick Kyrgios v Gastao Elias (POR)
27 – Bernard Tomic v Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)
Christopher O’Connell v 15 – Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
Omar Jasika v 21 – David Ferrer (ESP)
Alex De Minaur v Gerald Melzer (AUT)
James Duckworth v Paolo Lorenzi (ITA)
Sam Groth v Steve Darcis (BEL)
Andrew Whittington v Adam Pavlasek (CZE)
Jordan Thompson v Joao Sousa (POR)

Women’s singles, first round

18 – Samantha Stosur v Heather Watson (GBR)
22 – Daria Gavrilova v Naomi Broady (GBR)
Arina Rodionova v 17 – Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
Ashleigh Barty v Annika Beck (GER)
Destanee Aiva v qualifier TBC
Jaimee Fourlis v Anna Tatishvilli (USA)
Lizette Cabrera v Donna Vekic (CRO)

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