Australian Open tennis: Novak Djokovic draws fellow Serbian; Osaka, Barty share section

Australian Open tennis: Novak Djokovic draws fellow Serbian; Osaka, Barty share section
No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia trained on Thursday at Melbourne Park in Melbourne. Photo by James Ross/EPA-EFE

Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Miomir Kecmanovic will face fellow Serbian Novak Djokovic in the first-round of the 2022 Australian Open, tournament officials announced Thursday, despite uncertainty about Djokokovic's ability to stay in the country.

Women's No. 1 Ash Barty was drawn in the same section as defending champion Naomi Osaka. The first round of the Grand Slam tournament is scheduled to start Monday local time, but airs late Sunday in the United States.


Melbourne is 16 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Thursday's draw for the respective 128-player singles fields was delayed by more than an hour as Djokovic's participation in the tournament remains in limbo, due to issues with his travel visa.

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters Thursday that the minister of immigration is still deciding if Djokovic's visa will be canceled and he will be forced to leave Australia. The No. 1 men's tennis player practiced Thursday in Melbourne.


Djokovic, who won the last three men's singles titles in Melbourne, is 1-0 in career matches against Kecmanovic, the No. 78 player in the ATP rankings. Kecmanovic lost in straight sets to the 20-time Grand Slam champion at the 2021 Serbia Open on April 23 in Belgrade.

No. 7 Matteo Berrettini of Italy is the highest-seeded player Djokovic could face before the semifinals. They could meet in the quarterfinals if they each win their first four matches. Berrettini takes on American Brandon Nakashima in the first round.

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No. 2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia will battle Switzerland's Henri Laaksonen in his first-round match. Medvedev could face No. 13 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina as early as the fourth round.

No. 3 Alexander Zverev will meet fellow German Daniel Altmaier in his first-round match. No. 6 Rafael Nadal of Spain will play American Marcos Giron. Zverev and Nadal could meet in the quarterfinals if they each win their first four matches.

No. 5 Andrey Rublev also was drawn in the same quadrant as Medevedev. The Russians could meet in the quarterfinals.

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No. 20 Taylor Fritz, No. 22 John Isner, No. 23 Reilly Opelka, Frances Tiafoe, Sebastian Korda, Steve Johnson, Sam Querrey, Tommy Paul, Maxime Cressy, Denis Kudla, Mackenzie McDonald and Stefan Kozlov join Giron and Nakashima as the Americans in the men's singles circuit.


Isner will face Cressy in the first round.

On the women's side, Barty will face an undetermined qualifier in the first round. The top-ranked Australian could face No. 13 Naomi Osaka of Japan as early as the fourth round.

Osaka faces Colombian Camila Osorio in the first round. No. 22 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, a gold medalist at the 2020 Summer Games, also shares a section with Barty and Osaka.

Bencic could face Osaka as early as the third round if they both win their first two matches. Americans Madison Brengle, Amanda Anisimova and Lauren Davis also share the section with Osaka, Bencic and Barty.

No. 11 Sofia Kenin faces fellow American Madison Keys in her first-round match. Kenin is the top-seeded American in the tournament.

American Coco Gauff, the No. 18 seed, shares a section with Keys and Kenin and could face either as early as the third round. Gauff battles Qiang Wang of China in the first round.

No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus faces wild-card entry Storm Sanders of Australia in the first round.

No. 5 Maria Sakkari of Greece, No. 9 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia and No. 21 Jessica Pegula of the United States are among the top-seeded players in the same quadrant as Barty, Osaka, Gauff and Bencic.


Pegula faces Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina in the first round. Brengle battles Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska in the first round. Davis' first match is against Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic.

Americans Bernarda Pera and Claire Liu battle Russians Ekaterina Alexandrova and Veronika Kudermetova, respectively. American Sloane Stephens faces No. 17 Emma Raducanu of Britain.

No. 27 Daniel Collins, Ann Li, Robin Anderson, Shelby Rogers and Alison Riske are among the other Americans in the main draw for the women's singles circuit.

Live first day coverage of the 2022 Australian Open airs from 7 to 11 p.m. EST Sunday on ESPN and from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. EST Monday on ESPN+.

The women's singles final is expected to air from 3:30 to 5:30 a.m. EST Jan. 28 on ESPN. The men's singles final is expected to air from 3:30 to 6:30 a.m. EST Jan. 29 on the same network.

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