Australian Open draw winners and losers: Good for Nadal, bad for Serena

Rafael Nadal had a good Australian Open draw (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal had a good Australian Open draw (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images) /

Roger Federer and Serena Williams were among those who were unlucky in the Australian Open draw for 2020, while Rafael Nadal would have been happy.

The Australian Open draw has been made prior to the tournament starting on Monday, with Rafael Nadal one of the big winners as Roger Federer and Serena Williams were among the players who came out with less than ideal paths.

Nadal goes into the event as the world number one and top seed, though Novak Djokovic is favorite as he seeks to add to his record seven titles at the tournament.

Roger Federer is hunting his 21st Grand Slam after going two years without a major victory.

Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev are among a group of players bidding to end The Big Three’s dominance of majors.

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On the women’s side, Serena Williams is seeking a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, while Naomi Osaka is the defending champion.

Australian Open draw winners

Nadal should be pleased with his draw, as he starts against Hugo Dellien and the first seed he could play is fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who is not in his league.

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Round 4 is a potential stumbling block with Nick Kyrgios or Karen Khachanov potentially lying in wait, but then the quarterfinal looks reasonable, given Thiem is not as much of a threat on a hard court and one of the other possible opponents, Gael Monfils, is beatable.

With Federer in the other half of the draw alongside Djokovic, Nadal’s most likely semifinal opponents come from a group of Medvedev, Zverev, David Goffin and Stan Wawrinka.

Medvedev has a tricky but winnable opener against Frances Tiafoe and the only particularly problematic obstacle in his section of the draw appears to be Wawrinka (R4).

The in-form Russian would then fancy his chances against Goffin or Zverev in the quarterfinals.

Such is the competitiveness of the women’s draw, getting through the first week is often a bigger challenge than for the top men’s stars, and making the last eight is a crucial part the two-week battle.

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Ash Barty looks to have a clear run to the quarterfinals, with Petra Martic the highest ranked player in her section of the draw.

The same goes for Petra Kvitova, who will like the look of her potential run through the first week until the threatening Madison Keys becomes her likely rival in the last 16.

Barty and Kvitova could then meet in a blockbuster quarterfinal, while Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep must be delighted to have Barty, Serena and Osaka all in the other half of the draw.

Australian Open draw losers

Serena and Osaka potentially having to meet in the quarters is far from ideal for the two women’s singles tournament favorites.

The American’s first three matches look likely to be straightforward, though round 4 for Serena could come against the retiring Caroline Wozniacki or Dayana Yastremska, with Barty or Kvitova later waiting in the semis if she did emerge from a contest with Osaka.

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Just to reach potential meetings with Serena and home hope Barty, Osaka may have to get through tests against impressive American youngsters Coco Gauff and Sofia Kenin in the first week.

Federer has been paired in the same half of the tournament as the relentless Djokovic, the man everyone wanted to avoid.

But even to get to the last four he has to negotiate a section that includes Denis Shapovalov, Jannik Sinner and Hubert Hurkacz as well as two players who have beaten him in recent Slams, John Millman and Grigor Dimitrov.

A possible quarterfinal against Fabio Fognini or Matteo Berrettini is at least one positive for the Swiss great, who would expect to come out on top there.

If Tsitsipas makes round 4, a brutal potential run to victory over his final four matches could read: Roberto Bautista Agut, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal.

Kyrgios may have to face Khachanov in round 3 and Nadal in round 4 even before thinking about contests with Thiem or Medvedev in the rounds that follow.

Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open draw could have been better but also could have been worse as he looks to win a record eighth title in Melbourne.

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Having to potentially face Tsitsipas and Medvedev before the final will be a challenge, though his first week looks better than those of his main rivals once he has got past a potentially testing opener against Jan-Lennard Struff.