Nadal to face Australian Open opening test, Djokovic and Kyrgios in same term | ATP tour

Rafael Nadal will face a tough opening test at the Australian Open against British left-hander Jack Draper, while Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios are in the same quarter of the draw, it was revealed on Thursday afternoon in Melbourne Park.

Defending champion Nadal will need to be sharpened in his first match against Draper, a contender for the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals. The 21-year-old, who boasts two Top 10 wins, has started his season fast. The world No. 40 will take part in the Adelaide International 2 semi-finals on Friday.

“It will be amazing to play on the court with him, he’s a great champion,” Draper said. “[There are] a lot of emotions obviously when I think about playing it, but that’s one thing, I still have to go play tomorrow and I hope to do this tournament well first.

“Whatever happens, it will be a special occasion for me, still very young in my career, so it’s great to have these kinds of experiences and to be exposed to playing against Rafa on a big pitch like this. But I really want to play well and I want to compete hard and do my best.”

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If Nadal, a 22-time major winner, overtakes the British star, his path won’t be any easier, with one of the two Americans – Mackenzie McDonald or reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Brandon Nakashima – waiting in the second round.

Also in the Spaniard’s quarter is seventh seed Daniil Medvedev, meaning a rematch of the Australian Open 2022 final between Nadal and Medvedev could be played in the last eight. Sixteenth seed Frances Tiafoe, who stunned Nadal at last year’s US Open, is a potential fourth-round opponent for the southpaw.

Medvedev, who has made back-to-back ‘Happy Slam’ finals, will open against American Marcos Giron and could face Adelaide International 1 runner-up Sebastian Korda, seeded 29, in the third round.

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In the bottom half of the table, nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and Australian Nick Kyrgios landed in the same quarter. 19th-seeded Kyrgios could face ninth-seeded Holger Rune in the third round and fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev in the fourth round before a quarter-final clash against Djokovic, who begins his quest for a 22nd major title record against Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena. .

Rublev’s first-round clash will be a blockbuster against his close friend, former world No. 3 and 2020 Australian Open runner-up Dominic Thiem. Thirteenth seed Matteo Berrettini will open against former world No. 1 Andy Murray. Berrettini beat Murray in four sets at Flushing Meadows in 2022 and leads their ATP Head2Head series 3-1.

The winner will face local favorite Thanasi Kokkinakis or Italian shooter Fabio Fognini.

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Second seed Casper Ruud, who advanced to his first two major finals last season, will face Czech Tomas Machac in the first round, along with eighth seed Taylor Fritz, 12th seed Alexander Zverev, Berrettini , Murray and other dangerous enemies in his neighborhood.

Sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime has been playing the best tennis of his career at the end of 2022, and the Canadian will look to maintain that level in the first round against compatriot Vasek Pospisil. The winner could face 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in the second round.

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