2024 Australian Open: Iga Swiatek gets nasty draw, Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff on collision course

Iga Swiatek will face a former Australian Open winner in the first round of this year’s tournament and if she wins then she could potentially take on a three-time Grand Slam winner in the second round while her nemesis Jelena Ostapenko could await in the quarter-final.

Let’s not forget that Swiatek could face world No 3 Elena Rybakina in the semi-final.

World No 1 Swiatek has no doubt been handed a nightmare draw as she takes on 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in her opener and victory will see her face either former world No 1 Angelique Kerber or Danielle Collins in the second round.

Kerber is playing in her first Grand Slam since Wimbledon 2022 as she was on maternity leave in 2023.

If Swiatek negotiates the first two rounds then she could face her first seed in the 31st-seeded Marie Bouzkova in the third round, but the draw just gets more difficult after that.

The four-time Grand Slam winner is projected to meet 19th seed Elina Svitolina in the fourth round while Jelena Ostapenko could await in the quarter-final.

 

Ostapenko famously dumped Swiatek out of last year’s US Open in the round of 16 and has a 4-0 head-to-head record against the Pole.

The 11th seed from Latvia, though, will likely have to get past 18th seed Victoria Azarenka in the third round of Section 2 and seventh seed Marketa Vondrousova in the fourth round.

Section 3 and Section 4

Last year’s Australian Open runner-up Rybakina is the favourite for a semi-final place, but she faces former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova in the first round while 14th seed Daria Kasatkina is also in Section 3.

Should Rybakina reach the quarter-final then she is projected to meet fifth seed Jessica Pegula.

American Pegula takes on Clara Burel from France in the first round while she is likely to meet 12th seed Qinwen Zheng in the fourth round.

Section 4 also features two British players with Katie Boulter taking on Yue Yuan first up while the 2021 US Open winner Emma Raducanu, who will play in her first major since last year’s Australian Open following an injury-ravaged 2023 campaign, is up against Shelby Rodgers.

Bottom Half

Section 8 and Section 7

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka has been handed a relatively easy draw as she faces a qualifier in the first round while 13th seed Luidmila Samsonova is a likely fourth-round opponent.

If the world No 2 gets out of the section then she is projected to meet either sixth seed Ons Jabeur or Barbora Krejcikova in the quarter-final.

Jabeur is up against a qualifier in round one, but she could face 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva in the second round while Krejcikova takes on wildcard Mae Hontama in the first round.

Section 6 and Section 5

The newest Grand Slam champion, Coco Gauff, opens her Anna Schmiedlova and she could meet 32nd seed Leylah Fernandez in the third round while 16th seed Caroline Garcia is a likely fourth-round opponent.

Garcia, though, has a tough opener as she faces former world No 1 Naomi Osaka in the first round. Osaka is playing in her first major after giving birth in July last year.

The winner of Section 6 is projected to meet Maria Sakkari in the quarter-final and the eighth seed from Greece takes on Nao Hibino first up.

Sakkari is expected to meet 10th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia in the fourth round, but the Brazilian will likely have to negotiate her way past former Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki in the third round. Wozniacki opens her campaign against 20th seed Magda Linette.

If the seedings hold then Swiatek will face Vondrousova in the quarter-final with the winner taking on either Rybakina or Pegula. Sabalenka, meanwhile, is expected to meet Jabeur in the last eight with Gauff or Sakkari a likely semi-final opponent.

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