Aussies fare well in Brisbane draw
Sam Stosur, Priscilla Hon and Ben Mitchell have all drawn qualifiers in the opening round of the Brisbane International, while Bernard Tomic takes on Nicolas Mahut.
Australian wildcard and new father Ben Mitchell has the prime chance to take on Roger Federer in the Swiss tennis maestro’s first match of 2016 at the Brisbane International.
Mitchell will play a qualifier in the opening round at Queensland Tennis Centre where victory will book a second-round appearance against 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer, who gets a first-up bye.
The Gold Coaster was granted a wildcard to his home tournament after withdrawing from the Australian Open wildcard playoffs to be at the birth of his first child last month.
The world No.231-ranked player is one six Queenslanders in the main draw of the men’s and women’s tournaments at the Brisbane International with the most high-profile, seventh-seed Bernard Tomic, to play French veteran Nicolas Mahut in the first round.
In the women’s draw, local hope Sam Stosur was handed a helpful start to her home tournament by drawing a qualifier.
Having historically struggled on home soil, Stosur would book second-round clash with either sixth-seed Carla Suarez Navarro or adopted Aussie wildcard Alja Tomljanovic.
The other wildcard, youngster Priscilla Hon, will play a qualifier.
Women’s drawcard Maria Sharapova and Romanian top seed Simona Halep have both been handed tough assignments in the top half of the women’s draw, which boasts nine of the world’s top 20.
Sharapova has been drawn against Russian Ekaterina Makarova while Halep has a bye but then faces a likely showdown with two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, before a possible quarterfinal with former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic.
Davis Cup regular Sam Groth plays Korean Hyeon Chung and is in the same quarter of the men’s draw with wildcards John-Patrick Smith and James Duckworth.