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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 27 January, 2020

Coco Gauff v Venus Williams rematch the highlight of Australian Open draw

Gauff/Williams winner could potentially face defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round.

Gauff beat Williams in straight sets at Wimbledon.
Gauff beat Williams in straight sets at Wimbledon.
Image: Imago/PA Images

COCO GAUFF WILL face Venus Williams once again in a blockbuster first round clash at the Australian Open.

Gauff, 15, emerged as a tennis sensation last summer when she stunned five-time singles champion Venus in straight sets at Wimbledon.

The winner could potentially face defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round. Osaka, seeded third, starts her title defence against Marie Bouzkova.

Serena Williams, who is seeking to match Australian Margaret Court’s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, gets underway against Russia’s Anastasia Potapova.

Seeded eight, she heads into the tournament on the back of ending a three-year title drought by winning the Auckland Classic. She is gunning for an eighth Australian crown and her first Slam title since Melbourne in 2017.

World number one Ashleigh Barty opens against Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko, with the French Open champion on a collision course with last year’s finalist Petra Kvitova in the last eight.

Fourth seed Simona Halep has a tough opening task against Jennifer Brady, who beat Barty and Maria Sharapova at the Brisbane International.

Second seed Karolina Pliskova takes on Kristina Mladenovic.

In the men’s draw, world number one Rafael Nadal will take on Bolivian Hugo Dellien.

The Spaniard is attempting to match Roger Federer’s record 20 Grand Slam singles titles on his least favourite surface, having won in Melbourne just once, back in 2009.

Australian Nick Kyrgios could be waiting for him in the fourth round.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic will start his bid to lift a record eighth Australian Open title against Jan-Lennard Struff.

The Serb had a fine 2019, winning five titles including at Melbourne Park and Wimbledon on the way to ending the year as number two, behind only Nadal.

Fresh from helping his country win the ATP Cup, he will start his drive to extend his incredible Melbourne run — he holds a 68-8 record — against a German who crashed at the first hurdle last year.

Djokovic could meet Greek young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last eight.

The ageless Federer, 38, is up against American Steve Johnson in the third quarter of the men’s draw as he targets a seventh Australian Open title, winning his last in 2018.

© – AFP, 2020  

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