US Open: tough draws for Aussies
Nick Kyrgios, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Daria Gavrilova all drew high seeds at the US Open while tough openers await Aussie seeds Sam Stosur and Bernard Tomic.
Conducted on Thursday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre at Flushing Meadows, the US Open draw has thrown up several tough first-round assignments for the Aussie troupe.
Nick Kyrgios has been dealt arguably the most challenging of those; the 20-year-old faces No.3 seed Andy Murray.
Murray is a former US Open champion and comes into the tournament with the Montreal Masters title under his belt.
But Daria Gavrilova fared no better, drawing Maria Sharapova, the No.3 seed in the women’s draw, as her first-round opponent.
Standing in Gavrilova’s favour is the fact she beat the 2006 US Open champion in Miami earlier this year and faces a player who comes into the tournament under an injury cloud.
Thanasi Kokkinakis will take on 12th seed Richard Gasquet in another unenviable opening-round match.
Australian former US Open winners Sam Stosur and Lleyton Hewitt have been dealt unseeded opponents for their first matches.
Stosur, the 22nd seed and 2011 champ, faces Timea Babos for the second time in a fortnight having lost to the Hungarian in three sets in Cincinnati, while Hewitt, a wildcard who won the title back in 2001, takes on Aleksandr Nedovyesov, whom he beat in the fifth rubber of Australia’s Davis Cup quarterfinal against Kazakhstan.
The only other Australian seed in the tournament aside from Stosur is Bernard Tomic; the No.24 seed drew Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur, who reached the third round at Roland Garros.
Other Aussie men in the draw – Sam Groth, John Millman and James Duckworth – will come up against unseeded foes.
Groth got the in-form Alexandr Dolgopolov, a recent Cincinnati Masters semifinalist, while Duckworth will face Korean young gun Hyeon Chung. Millman tackles Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky.
Groth and Millman were the only Aussies to fall in the top half of the draw – the others landed in a stacked bottom half featuring Murray, Roger Federer (the No.2 seed) Stan Wawrinka (No.5). Duckworth could face Wawrinka in round two.
A section dense with Aussies sees a projected Tomic v Hewitt second-round encounter, with the winner possibly facing Kokkinakis in the third round.
On the women’s side, Casey Dellacqua will take on a qualifier and Ajla Tomljanovic has drawn Italy’s Karin Knapp.
Jarmila Gajdosova also drew an Italian opponent; her opening match will be against No.26 seed Flavia Pennetta, who has reached the US Open quarterfinals on five occasions and advanced to the semis in 2013.
Our women are spread relatively evenly throughout both halves of the draw.
Should the seedings hold, Stosur would face No.16 seed Sara Errani in the last 32, and should she advance further, could meet fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round and No.5 seed Petra Kvitova in the quarters.
She has landed in the bottom half of the draw headed by No.2 seed Simona Halep; world No.1 Serena Williams headlines the field and is shooting for an historic calendar-year Grand Slam.