Nadal handed a favourable path

Sport360 - - News - By Reem Abulleil @ReemAbulleil

top seeds of the men’s and women’s sin­gles draws at the Aus­tralian Open were handed mixed for­tunes as Rafael Nadal man­aged to avoid No­vak Djokovic in his half while Si­mona Halep was given a bru­tal path.

Nadal, last year’s run­ner-up in Mel­bourne, opens his cam­paign against Do­mini­can Vic­tor Estrella Bur­gos. The first seed he could meet is Bos­nian No28 seed Damir Dzumhur in the third round, with No16 seed John Is­ner ly­ing ahead as a pos­si­ble fourth round op­po­nent for the Spa­niard.

Sixth-seeded Marin Cilic could be Nadal’s quar­ter-fi­nal foe or Span­ish No10 seed Pablo Car­reno Busta. No3 seed Grigor Dim­itrov or No8 Jack Sock are seeded to po­ten­tially face Nadal in the semi-fi­nals.

On the women’s side, Halep might have to tame sev­eral pow­er­hit­ters if she plans on mak­ing it through her quar­ter of the draw, while for­mer cham­pion Maria Shara­pova also has a daunt­ing path ahead of her.

Halep com­mences her as­sault on a first Grand Slam ti­tle against lo­cal wild­card Des­ta­nee Ai­ava. If she wins against the 17-year-old Aussie, the Ro­ma­nian world No1 would then face ei­ther for­mer semi-fi­nal­ist Eu­ge­nie Bouchard or French big-hit­ter Oceane Dodin.

Two-time Wim­ble­don cham­pion Pe­tra Kvi­tova or Ger­man for­mer top-10er An­drea Petkovic are pos­si­ble third round op­po­nents for Halep. No18 seed Ash­leigh Barty or Ja­panese Naomi Osaka could lie ahead in the fourth round be­fore po­ten­tial quar­ter-fi­nal show­downs with ei­ther Karolina Pliskova or Jo­hanna Konta.

Shara­pova be­gins her Aus­tralian Open against Ger­many’s Tat­jana Maria and then in the sec­ond round could get a re­match with Sev­as­tova, who ousted the Rus­sian in the US Open last year.

Luck on his side: Rafael Nadal.

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