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Australian Open Tennis 2020 • Djokovic And Federer On One Side Of Draw • Nadal And Medvedev On The Other

By Ricky Dimon

The Australian Open draw ceremony took place on Thursday at Melbourne Park. Going into it, the big question involved Roger Federer and Daniil Medvedev: which one would land in Rafael Nadal’s half and which one would get Novak Djokovic?

For once it is actually Federer who is largely considered to be the more desirable semifinal opponent of those two. That could be a be careful what you wish for kind of situation, because Federer is still Federer. But Medvedev has given Djokovic fits of late and he has not been easy on Nadal, either. Whatever the case, it is Djokovic and Federer who are on a collision course for the semis in what would be a rematch of their epic 2019 Wimbledon final. Nadal and Medvedev could wage a rematch of their 2019 U.S. Open final in the Aussie semis. 

For Nadal, things probably won’t get tricky until week two. The second Monday could feature a showdown between the top seed and Nick Kyrgios, who is Australia’s best hope for success now than Alex de Minaur is out due to an abdominal injury. Of course, Kyrgios can lose to anyone on any given day and potentially tricky first-week opponents for him include Gilles Simon and Karen Khachanov. Nadal’s fellow top-eight seed in his quarter of the bracket is Dominic Thiem, who reinvented himself on hard courts throughout last season and cannot be discounted in Melbourne.

Medvedev get things started against 2019 AO quarterfinalist Frances Tiafoe. Alexander Zverev is a possible quarterfinal opponent for the fourth-ranked Russian, but a more likely foe at that point is red-hot Doha champion Andrey Rublev.

Federer surely didn’t want to see Djokovic in his half, but the 38-year-old Swiss will have plenty to worry about long before such a matchup becomes another reality. Hubert Hurkacz, who is playing the best tennis of his career in the early stages of 2020, looms large as a possible third-round adversary. Denis Shapovalov, in similarly strong form, could meet Federer in the fourth round. Shapovalov faces as intriguing path through the bracket with Jannik Sinner likely in round two and Grigor Dimitrov in the last 32.

Djokovic could not have asked for a more productive Thursday at the office. The world No. 2 Serb not only avoided Medvedev during the draw ceremony but also has to be content with unsurprising news that the bottom half of the bracket is playing first and will have two days off prior to the final. Moreover, he should waltz past a whole host of unspectacular opponents until at least the quarterfinals. The second Wednesday is when Djokovic could run into a stern test in the form of 2019 Aussie semifinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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