10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Medvedev’s section the most interesting in an overall balanced Australian Open men’s singles draw

If the draw has anything to do with it, the men’s singles competition at the Australian Open should be a fun one. And it should be a fair fight, so to speak.

The draw ceremony for the season’s first Grand Slam was held on Thursday afternoon. It produced a seemingly balanced bracket on the men’s side — which isn’t a surprise. After all, Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios (who both would have been unseeded) weren’t floating in the pot (they both withdrew due to injuries). That’s not to say there aren’t any interesting unseeded entrants (Andy Murray, Marin Cilic, and Denis Shapovalov, to name a few), but this field of 128 was never going to overly skewed.

And it isn’t. If the seeds hold to form, the semifinal matchups will be Novak Djokovic vs. Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz vs. Daniil Medvedev. Quarterfinal contests would be Djokovic vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Sinner vs. Andrey Rublev, Medvedev vs. Holger Rune, and Alcaraz vs. Alexander Zverev.

Djokovic could meet either Murray or Gael Monfils in the third round and possibly Ben Wawrinka or Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round. Sinner’s road to a potential SF showdown against Djokovic begins Botic van de Zandschulp and could include either Karen Khachanov or Frances Tiafoe in the last 16.

The bottom half of the bracket appears to contain the most interesting quarter — that of Daniil Medvedev. Joining Medvedev in that section are Rune, Hubert Hurkacz, Grigor Dimitrov, Ugo Humbert, and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The Russian could even face Emil Ruusuvuori as early as round two.

Across the entire bracket, first-round showdowns to watch are Sinner vs. Van de Zandschulp, Shelton vs. Roberto Bautista Agut, Tsitsipas vs. Matteo Berrettini, Dimitrov vs. Marton Fucsovics, Murray vs. Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Wawrinka vs. Adrian Mannarino, Tiafoe vs. Borna Coric, Alex De Minaur vs. Milos Raonic, and Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Dominic Thiem.

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