Defending champions Li Na and Stanislas Wawrinka were present as the draw for Australian Open 2015 was revealed, with some mouthwatering matches in likelihood for the initial rounds of the year’s first Grand Slam.
Last year’s men’s singles champion Stan Wawrinka starts the defense of his only Grand Slam title versus Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan and has a conducive draw, while fellow countryman and 4 time Australian Open champion Roger Federer will kick off his tournament versus Yen-Hsun Lu from Chinese Taipei. Federer, who hasn’t won in Melbourne since 2010, is on the same side of the draw as Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, and may come across the Scot in the quarterfinals and the Spaniard in the semis.
Four-time Melbourne Park champion Novak Djokovic starts against a qualifier, as does men’s 6th seed & 3 time Australian Open runner-up Murray. Djoker could bump into the explosive Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the third round. Last year’s runner-up and 2009 Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal faces an awkward first-round encounter with Russian Mikhail Youzhny, and could come face to face with Czech Lukas Rosol, who remarkably knocked Rafa out from the 1st round at Wimbledon in 2012, in the fourth round.
US Open 2009 champion Juan Martin Del Potro, ranked No.338 as he comes back to the sport after a 2014 season ruined by a left wrist injury, will face Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz in a fierce first-round matchup, with the winner likely to encounter the buoyant Frenchman Gael Monfils in the 2nd round.
Of the Australians, Nick Kyrgios will get going against Federico Delbonis of Argentina in the opening round and could stumble upon Federer in the 4th round, while Lleyton Hewitt commences his record 19th Australian Open versus Chinese wildcard Ze Zhang. Bernard Tomic opens his 2015 Melbourne campaign versus German Tobias Kamke, while Thanasi Kokkinakis plays Latvian 11th seed Ernests Gulbis in the round.
In the women’s draw, two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka will run into Australian Open semifinalist Sloane Stephens in a tempting first-round clash after their controversial semifinal here two years back. Azarenka, who won in Melbourne in 2012 and 2013, has dropped to world No.41 after a 2014 season disrupted by injuries, and could meet Caroline Wozniacki, the 8th seed, in the 2nd round.
The road to a 6th Australian Open singles title for Serena Williams is complicated, with the American top seed on track to encounter Vera Zvonareva in the 2nd round, Ukraine’s 26th seed Elina Svitolina in the 3rd round, and either Jelena Jankovic or Garbine Muguruza in the 4th round.
Australian Open 2008 champion & 2nd seed Maria Sharapova plays a qualifier in the 1st round and is on track for a quarterfinal with last year’s breakout star Eugenie Bouchard, while last year’s runner-up Dominika Cibulkova begins her tournament versus Belgian Kirsten Flipkens.
Of the Australians, Samantha Stosur is all set to play her 2010 French Open vanquisher Francesca Schiavone in the 2nd round, while 29th seed Casey Dellacqua opens her tournament against Austria’s Yvonne Meusburger, and could bump into two-time Grand Slam winner Petra Kvitova in the third round.