TENNIS: The draw for the Australian Open shows a relatively smooth first week for world no. 2 Rafael Nadal in the Men’s Draw. In the Women’s Draw, No. 14 seed Garbiñe Muguruza’s first match is against a lucky loser.
With players out of quarantine and only days before the tournaments starts, InSpain.news look at the draw.
No.2 seed Rafael Nadal is aiming for a men’s record 21st Grand Slam singles title in Melbourne when the competition starts Monday, 8th February. His draw offers an arguably smoother road to the second week than that of his biggest rival and No.1 seed, Novak Djokovic.
Road to Victory for Nadal?
Nadal’s opening match is against Serb Laslo Djere, and he could meet 30th seed Dan Evans in the last 32, assuming the Brit gets by compatriot Cameron Norrie in his opener. The predictions are for Nadal to have a quarter-final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Nadal crushed Tsitsipas when they met in the 2019 semi-finals. However, Tsitsipas beat the Spaniard on Madrid’s clay in 2019 and pushed him to three sets in their past two meetings. Nadal still leads the head-to-head 6-1.
ATP Cup – Spain guaranteed a win
A stiff lower back caused Nadal to pull out of the ATP Cup, earlier this week. However, that didn’t stop the Spanish team from securing an unassailable 2-0 lead over Australia.
World No.16 Pablo Carreno Busta, replaced Nadal and beat John Millman 6-2 6-4 in the opening rubber.
Elevated to the No.1 spot, 13th-ranked Bautista Agut then overcame a 0-2 record and a slow start against De Minaur to win 4-6 6-4 6-4 in two hours and 21 minutes.
Strong Spanish Presence in Men’s Draw
Alongside Nada, there are another nine Spanish players in the draw. Bautista Agut, 12th seed, is up against Albot of Moldova in the first round, a match he should win. Carreno Busta is the No.15 seed and plays Japan’s Nishikori.
No.27 seed Us players, Fritz is a tough first-round opponent for unseeded Ramos-Vinolas. Among the remaining Spanish men’s players is 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz from Murcia. Alcaraz is coached by former world number 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero. Up against a fellow qualifier, this is Alcaraz’s opportunity to make his first ever second-round Grand Slam appearance.
Women’s Draw is tight
There are eight Grand Slam champions in the bottom half of the draw, with five of them falling into Garbiñe Muguruza’s quarter of the draw.
Muguruza, last year’s runner-up, could face the 2019 Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka in the fourth round. She opens the tournament against lucky loser Margarita Gasparyan from Russia.
Badosa and Sorribes Tormo should win their first rounds against a Russian qualifier and Australian Wild Card, respectively. Spain’s Bolsova, on the other hand, has a far tougher draw against American Jennifer Brady, seeded 22.