January 17th, 2020

Venus vs. Gauff Headlines Australian Open Draw: U.S. Preview

General News Pro Tennis

The Australian Open draw was released on Thursday, featuring a plethora of in- and out-of-country challenges, particularly on the U.S. women’s side of first-round match-ups.

The premier first-round match-up, and likely that of the tournament, is former No. 1 and 39-year-old Venus Williams against 15-year-old breakout player Coco Gauff, who last year leapt from obscurity to No. 66 on the WTA rankings as of this week.

It will be a rematch of their first meeting at Wimbledon last year where Gauff triumphed 6-4, 6-4.

“Coco Gauff, it goes without saying, she’s great,” Chris Evert told ESPN in her preview of the tournament. “Anybody who doesn’t think she’s going to win a Grand Slam has to have their head examined. Again, she’s got it all, and she’s got the power and she moves so beautifully, and she’s going to cause some upsets for sure this tournament.”

Another all-American meeting will be former world junior No. 1 Taylor Townsend vs. Jessica Pegula. In other tough American first-round match-ups No. 10 seed Madison Keys meets Russian Daria Kasatkina; Jennifer Brady, who this year has already toppled world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, meets No. 4 seed Simona Halep, and Kristie Ahn starts her campaign against former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.

“I think Serena, she certainly looks hungry, and I think she’s got a little momentum going into the Australian Open, and it would probably be the least pressure, this Grand Slam, to win for her,” Evert told ESPN. “I think every other tournament, the French Open, the clay isn’t her best surface. Wimbledon is a lot of pressure, US Open is a lot of pressure, and this one, the first one of the year; it’s a happy Slam. I think if she just takes a little bit of pressure off herself and she can just play her brand of tennis, I think she’s got a good shot at winning it.”

On the men’s side No. 19 John Isner is the top-seeded American, while Steve Johnson starts against No. 3 Roger Federer, Frances Tiafoe begins his campaign against No. 4 Daniil Medvedev, and Reilly Opelka faces No. 12 Fabio Fognini.

Here are the first-round opponents of the American men and women for the 2020 edition of the Australian Open:

Women:

(8) Serena Williams (USA) vs. Anastasia Potapova (RUS)
(10) Madison Keys (USA) vs. Daria Kasatkina (RUS)
(14) Sofia Kenin (USA) vs. Qualifier
(18) Alison Riske (USA) vs. Qiang Wang (CHN)
(21) Amanda Anisimova (USA) vs. Zarina Diyas (KAZ)
(24) Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Shuai Zhang (CHN)
(26) Danielle Collins (USA) vs. Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS)
Jennifer Brady (USA) vs. (4) Simona Halep (ROM)
Bernarda Pera (USA) vs. (29) Elena Rybakina (KAZ)
CoCo Gauff (USA) vs. Venus Williams (USA)
Taylor Townsend (USA)
vs. Jessica Pegula (USA)
Christina McHale (USA)
vs. Petra Martic (CRO)
Madison Brengle (USA) vs. Caroline Garcia (ESP)
Kristie Ahn (USA) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
CiCi Bellis (USA) vs. Tatiana Maria (RUS)
Lauren Davis (USA) vs. Qualifier
(WC) CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Laura Siegemund (GER)

Men:

(19) John Isner (USA) vs. Thiago Monteiro (BRA)
(29) Taylor Fritz (USA) vs. Qualifier
Steve Johnson (USA) vs. (3) Roger Federer (SUI)
Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs. (4) Daniil Medvedev (RUS)
Reilly Opelka (USA) vs. (12) Fabio Fognini (ITA)
Sam Querrey (USA) vs. (25) Borna Coric (CRO)
Tommy Paul (USA) vs. Leo Mayer (ARG)
Tennys Sandgren (USA) vs. Qualifier
Marcos Giron (USA) vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
(WC) Michael Mmoh (USA) vs. Pablo Andujar (ESP)
Mackenzie McDonald (USA) vs. (30) Daniel Evans (GBR)

For more info go to www.ausopen.com.

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