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Australian Open 2019 Men's Draw: Federer and Nadal in the same half, Djokovic could face Tsonga in second round

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 10 Jan 2019
  • The Australian Open 2019 men's draw has been released
  • Nadal and Federer are in the same half
  • Murray lands in Federer's quarter
  • Djokovic might face Tsonga in a 2008 final rematch in Round 2
Roger Federer (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have landed in the same half of the 2019 Australian Open draw and are on a collision course for the semi-finals, while World No. 1 Novak Djokovic could face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round in what would be a rematch of the 2008 final.

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Two-time defending Australian Open champion Federer could have to go through one of the sport’s brightest young prospects in order to just make it to the quarter-finals, while great rival Nadal is in line to face another young gun before he can even turn his attention to the second week.

Federer opens his title defence against the flat-hitting Denis Istomin - the man who stunned Djokovic at Melbourne Park two years ago - and has been dealt a kind second round, facing a qualifier. Gael Monfils, the flashy former top 10 veteran who is seeded No. 30 at this year’s tournament, potentially awaits in the third round before a mouth-watering seeded Round of 16 showdown with rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas. Playing in his first Australian Open main draw, Tsitsipas, seeded 14th, begins his tournament against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini.

Rafael Nadal (Photo by ASANKA BRENDON RATNAYAKE/AFP/Getty Images)
Federer’s seeded quarter-final opponent is No. 6 Marin Cilic, but the Croatian faces a tough route to the final eight and a potential rematch of last year’s final, taking on an unpredictable Bernard Tomic in the opening round and possibly former semi-finalist Fernando Verdasco in Round 3.

Five-time runner-up Andy Murray has also fallen in Federer’s quarter, but the former World No. 1 faces an enormous task to make it past the opening round, drawing recently-crowned Doha champion Roberto Bautista Agut, who also beat Novak Djokovic during that run to the title. Paris Masters champion Karen Khachanov is also in Cilic’s section.

Meanwhile, at the very bottom of the draw, Nadal starts his quest for a second Australian Open title against luckless Australian James Duckworth, while teenage sensation Alex de Minaur could be waiting in the third round. If that match does indeed eventuate, it would be a blockbuster down under - and Nadal would be in for a big challenge, with the 17-time major champion retiring or withdrawing from 17 of his last 18 hardcourt tournaments, while he’s yet to play a competitive match since September.

Novak Djokovic (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
A notable first round in his quarter features last year’s semi-finalist Kyle Edmund up against former two-time semi-finalist Tomas Berdych, who impressed upon his return to the sport in Doha, while fans should bring their ladders for a first round tussle between American giants John Isner and Reilly Opelka. Quietly lurking at the top of the quarter his fifth seed Kevin Anderson and 20th seed Grigor Dimitrov, both of whom have been in good form to start the season.

Elsewhere, World No. 1 and six-time champion Djokovic starts against a qualifier before a very tough second round match against either Tsonga or the enigmatic Martin Klizan, both of whom will present a formidable challenge. If Djokovic survives that potential banana skin, he could run into the electric Denis Shapovalov in the third round, with the Canadian hoping to recapture his best tennis after a tough end to 2018.

Another youngster could be waiting for Djokovic in the Round of 16, with recent Brisbane runner-up Daniil Medvedev his seeded rival at the start of the second week. Eighth seed Kei Nishikori could meet Djokovic in the quarter-finals in what would be a rematch of the U.S. Open semi-finals, while the second quarter appears to be the section of the draw where players could step up and take advantage, with fourth seed Alexander Zverev coming into this tournament under an injury cloud.

Milos Raonic vs Nick Kyrgios is the stand-out opening round match in the second quarter, along with 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka against the unpredictable Ernests Gulbis. Dominic Thiem and Borna Coric are the other top seeds in this quarter, which is wide open and welcoming an unseeded player to go on a big run.

Headline first round matches

Nick Kyrgios vs Milos Raonic [16]
Marin Cilic [6] vs Bernard Tomic
Andy Murray vs Roberto Bautista Agut [20]
Grigor Dimitrov [20] vs Janko Tipsarevic
Tomas Berdych vs Kyle Edmund [13]

Top eight seeds

Novak Djokovic [1] vs Qualifier
Rafael Nadal [2] vs James Duckworth [WC]
Roger Federer [3] vs Denis Istomin
Alexander Zverev [4] vs Aljaz Bedene
Kevin Anderson [5] vs Adrian Mannarino
Marin Cilic [6] vs Bernard Tomic
Dominic Thiem [7] vs Benoit Paire
Kei Nishikori [8] vs Qualifier

The 2019 Australian Open begins on January 14 live from Melbourne Park.


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Australian Open 2019 Men's Draw: Federer and Nadal in the same half, Djokovic could face Tsonga in second round

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have landed in the same half of the 2019 Australian Open draw and are on a collision course for the semi-finals, while World No. 1 Novak Djokovic could face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round in what would be a rematch of the 2008 final.

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