No. 1 Iga Swiatek opens against former champ

January 12, 2024 12:13 pm

[Source: Reuters]

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland will face former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin as part of an intriguing first-round slate in Melbourne.

The draw was announced on Thursday for the season’s first grand slam, with action getting underway on Sunday.

Swiatek has four major titles but is still chasing her first in Australia, where Kenin lifted her only grand slam trophy in 2020. They met in the French Open final in 2020, with Swiatek prevailing 6-4, 6-1.

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The winner of that match will face either 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber of Germany or 2022 finalist Danielle Collins in the second round.

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus is the No. 2 seed and will open against a qualifier.

No. 3 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who lost a three-setter to Rybakina in last year’s final, will play former World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in the opening round.

Reigning U.S. Open champion Coco Gauff is the No. 4 seed and will take on Slovakia’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the first round. Gauff is 2-0 in their head-to-head series.

Jessica Pegula is the No. 5 seed, having the reached the quarterfinals in each of the last three Australian Opens. She also will open against a qualifier.

Two-time Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka (2019, 2021) will open against No. 16 seed Caroline Garcia of France. Osaka is returning from maternity leave and playing her first major since 2022.