Australian Open 2020 Draw: Novak Djokovic handed stern tests in quest for 8th crown
While most of the lead up to Australian Open 2020 has been dominated by the devastating bushfires that have ravaged the nation, the focus, for one day, turned to the players set to grace the showpiece event.
The draw for the 2020 Australian Open was announced earlier today, throwing up some interesting encounters.
Quarter 4: Stern tests await defending champion Novak Djokovic
Seven-time champion Novak Djokovic will kickstart the defence of his title with a tricky encounter against hard-hitting German Jan-Lennard Struff.
Djokovic has triumphed in both previous encounters against Struff, with their most recent meeting coming at last year's French Open which the Serb won in straight sets.
A potential fourth-round clash against Diego Schwartzman awaits the World No.2, following which he could face Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals.
Expected quarterfinal: Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Quarter 3: Sinner, Shapovalov hope to dent Roger Federer's chances
Roger Federer, who hasn't tasted success at the Grand Slam level since 2018, will hope to turn his fortunes around this year.
With a relatively easy draw, Federer should have no trouble making the quarterfinals at the very least.
The Swiss will lock horns with USA's Steve Johnson in the first round following which he could face Filip Krajinovic and Hubert Hurkacz in the next couple of rounds.
Before setting up a mouthwatering semi-final clash with Novak Djokovic, Federer may have to stave off challenges from the likes of Italian prodigy Jannik Sinner, as well as the ever-dangerous Denis Shapovalov.
Expected quarterfinal: Roger Federer vs Borna Coric
Quarter 2: All-Russian QF on the cards
Daniil Medvedev, who came ever so close to breaking the Big 3's stranglehold on the four Grand Slams with his run to the US Open final last year, should have no trouble making the quarterfinals.
The Russian opens his campaign against Frances Tiafoe, following which he could lock horns with Dominik Koepfer.
A potential clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga awaits in the third round, but if Medvedev can stave off the challenge from the Frenchman, he should have no trouble in the subsequent couple of rounds which includes a potential meeting with John Isner.
If the seeds hold firm, Medvedev would set up a mouthwatering semifinal clash with Nadal, whom he is yet to conquer in three attempts.
Expected quarterfinal: Daniil Medvedev vs Andrey Rublev
Quarter 1: Nadal-Kyrgios clash looms large
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal will commence his campaign against Hugo Dellien, an encounter the Spaniard should come through relatively unscathed.
However, sterner tests await the World No 1, with a potential round of 16 clash against mercurial Australian Nick Kyrgios.
Kyrgios has three victories over the current World No. 1, but came up short in their previous encounter at last year's Wimbledon.
If Nadal does get through the Kyrgios test, he could potentially set up a quarterfinal clash with fifth seed Dominic Thiem. The young Austrian has pushed Nadal to the brink on several occasions and will fancy his chances considering his newly-minted hard-court prowess.
Thiem begins his campaign against Adrian Mannarino, and could face the returning Kevin Anderson in the third round.
Felix Auger-Aliassime and Karen Khachanov also lurk in Nadal's quarter of the draw.
Expected quarterfinal: Rafael Nadal vs Kevin AndersonPublished 16 Jan 2020, 14:37 IST