Australia’s top seeds in the men’s and women’s Australian Open singles draws, Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomjlanovic, were dealt incredibly different fortunes on Thursday afternoon.
Kyrgios received a dream run but Tomljanovic copped a thumping blow.
Seed 20 Kyrgios will begin his campaign against the unseeded Roman Safiullin (world No.98), before likely meeting Richard Gasquet (world No.67), No.9 seed Holger Rune and No.5 seed Andrey Rublev. Kyrgios can’t face Novak Djokovic until the quarter-finals.
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The unseeded Tomljanovic (world No.35) is expected to defeat the unseeded Nadia Podoroska in round one, but she’s in line to play Victoria Azarenka or Sofia Kenin in round two — the only former Australian Open singles champions set to compete.
Azarenka conquered the Melbourne major in 2012 and 2013, and Kenin in 2020.
Tomljanovic already had considerably more pressure on her than in prior years, having inherited the top ranking in Australian women’s tennis following the retirement of Ash Barty in March last year.
Another notable player rocked by a tough draw is unseeded Great Britain veteran Andy Murray, with the three-time singles grand slam champion set to start his tournament against No.13 seed Matteo Berrettini, a former Wimbledon finalist.
And if Australian Alex de Minaur is to reach the quarter-finals of a grand slam for the second time in his career, he’ll have to overcome Djokovic in the fourth round.
MEN’S MATCHES TO WATCH (ROUND ONE)
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v Roman Safiullin
Alex de Minaur (AUS) v qualifier/lucky loser
Jason Kubler (AUS) v Sebastian Baez (ARG)
John Millman (AUS) v Marc-Andrea Huesler (SUI)
Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v qualifier/wildcard
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v Chun-Hsin Tseng (CHN)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v J.J. Wolf (USA)
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v Fabio Fognini (ITA)
Christopher O’Connell (AUS) v Jenson Brooksby (USA)
Daniil Medvedev v Marcos Giron (USA)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) v Quentin Halys (FRA)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP)
Matteo Berrettini (ITA) v Andy Murray (GBR)
WOMEN’S MATCHES TO WATCH (ROUND ONE)
Olivia Gadecki (AUS) v qualifier/lucky loser
Talia Gibson (AUS) v qualifier/lucky loser
Storm Hunter (AUS) v Xinyu Wang (CHN)
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v Nadia Podoroska (ARG)
Kimberly Birrell (AUS) v Kaia Kanepi (EST)
Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) v Linda Fruhvirtov (CZE)
Sofia Kenin (USA) v Victoria Azarenka
Iga Swiatek (POL) v Jule Niemeier (GER)
Danielle Collins (USA) v Anna Kalinskaya
Emma Raducanu (GBR) v Tamara Korpatsch (GER)
Coco Gauff (USA) v Katerina Siniakova (CZE)
Aryna Sabalenka v Tereza Martincov (CZE)
Jessica Pegula (USA) v Jaqueline Cristian (ROU)
Garbine Muguruza (ESP) v Elise Mertens (BEL)
Ons Jabeur (TUN) v Tamara Zidansek (SLO)
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