Men’s draw: Djokovic, Federer in same half

  • Matt Trollope

No.2 seed Novak Djokovic could face third seed Roger Federer in a blockbuster Australian Open semifinal after the draws were revealed on Thursday night at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic, the defending champion who is aiming for a record-extending eighth Australian Open title, opens his 2020 campaign against German Jan-Lennard Struff before a potential clash with in-form 30th seed Dan Evans in round three.

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World No.1 Rafael Nadal heads the draw in the opposite half, with a first-round match locked in against Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien.

Nadal could take part in his fair share of popcorn matches as he aims for a second title in Melbourne, with a projected fourth-round meeting against 23rd seed Nick Kyrgios possibly followed by a quarterfinal clash with No.5 seed Dominic Thiem.

Nadal could meet Australia's Nick Kyrgios in the round of 16

No.4 seed Daniil Medvedev heads the second quarter and opens against last year’s Melbourne quarterfinalist Frances Tiafoe.

Medvedev is seeded to meet No.7 seed Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals, but could face No.28 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in round three, provided the 2008 finalist can get past big-hitting Australian Alexei Popyrin in his opening match.

Should Medvedev and Nadal clash in the semis, it would be a repeat of their gripping five-set US Open final in September, won by Nadal for the Spaniard’s 19th major trophy.

MORE: The men’s seeds for AO2020

In the third quarter, Federer – sitting one clear of Nadal with 20 Grand Slam singles titles – has drawn Steve Johnson as his first-round opponent and could run into No.31 seed Hubert Hurkacz in round three, the Polish rising star who is so far undefeated in five matches in 2020.

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Should Federer keep progressing, a fourth-round meeting could await with either No.13 seed Denis Shapovalov or 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov, while in the quarterfinals, eighth seed Matteo Berrettini, last year’s US Open semifinalist, could loom.

And then, potentially, Djokovic in the semifinals.

Federer lost to Djokovic in the AO2016 semifinals, their most recent meeting in Melbourne

The Serb has two big names in his quarter, with No.6 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and ninth seed Roberto Bautista Agut – undefeated this year in six matches – on course for a clash in the last 16 in what would be a rematch of their AO quarterfinal of 2019.

Lurking as a potential third-round opponent for Tsitsipas is former world No.3 Milos Raonic, who was elevated to 32nd seed following the withdrawal of world No.21 Alex de Minaur earlier on Thursday.

The bottom half of the men's draw will play on Monday 20 January, with the schedule of play for Day 1 to be released on Friday Melbourne time. 

Projected quarterfinal match-ups

[1] Nadal v [5] Thiem
[4] Medvedev v [7] Zverev
[8] Berrettini v [3] Federer
[6] Tsitsipas v [2] Djokovic