Djokovic & Nadal Learn Path To Record-Breaking 21st Major

  • Posted: Jan 13, 2022

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have learned their paths to a potential record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title, with both placed in the top half of the draw following Thursday’s release of the Australian Open draw.

Nine-time defending champion and World No. 1 Djokovic will open against fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic and could meet American Tommy Paul or a qualifier in the second round. The 34-year-old is seeded to meet Lorenzo Sonego in the third round.

The top seed could face Chile’s Cristian Garin or 11-time tour-level titlist Gael Monfils in the fourth round, with a potential Wimbledon final re-match with Matteo Berrettini in the quarter-finals.

Sixth seed Nadal, who could meet Djokovic in the semi-finals, has landed in the same quarter as World No. 3 Alexander Zverev and is seeded to meet the German in the quarter-finals. But the Spaniard won’t be looking that far ahead this early in the tournament. He will be focused on a first-round meeting against American Marcos Giron, with a potential second-round clash with in-form Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis. Last year’s semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev or 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz could face the Spaniard in the fourth round.

Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Zverev will open his campaign against countryman Daniel Altmaier as he looks to win his first major and could face 30th seed Lloyd Harris in the third round. Should Zverev advance to the fourth round, he may play big-serving American Reilly Opelka or 14th seed Denis Shapovalov.

In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Daniil Medvedev will be aiming to win his second major, after triumphing at the US Open in September. The Russian opens against Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland, with dynamic Australian Nick Kygrios or a qualifier awaiting in the second round.

The World No. 2 is seeded to meet Ugo Humbert in the third round, Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round and either ninth-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime or countryman Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals.

Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will play Swede Mikael Ymer in the first round and could face last year’s quarter-finalist Grigor Dimitrov in the third round, with a clash against eighth seed Casper Ruud a potential last-eight match.

Interesting first-round matches include 12th seed Cameron Norrie against #NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda. Seventh seed Berrettini will play 20-year-old Brandon Nakashima, while Lorenzo Musetti will take on home favourite Alex de Minaur, who is the 32nd seed. Former World No. 1 Andy Murray opens against 21st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili. 

Former Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champions Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner are seeded 31st and 11th and both open against qualifiers.

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