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Australian Open 2024 draw revealed

By primenewsghana
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Emma Raducanu will play American Shelby Rogers when she makes her Grand Slam return at the Australian Open following an eight-month injury lay-off.

The 21-year-old Briton, who had wrist and ankle surgeries last May, could play British number one Katie Boulter in the Melbourne third round.

Boulter starts against China's Yuan Yue, with 12th seed Zheng Qinwen looming in the second round.

Five-time finalist Andy Murray plays 30th seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

The Australian Open, which is the first Grand Slam event of the 2024 season, starts at Melbourne Park on Sunday.

The tournament has been extended to 15 days, in a move which organisers say will alleviate late-night finishes, and culminates with the finals weekend on 27-28 January.

Raducanu starts with US Open rematch

Former British number one Raducanu made her competitive comeback at the Auckland Classic last week and is set to return to Grand Slam action in a draw which has special significance.

In the extraordinary US Open title triumph which shocked the world in 2021, Raducanu won 11 games in a row to beat Rogers and reach the quarter-finals in New York.

After her lengthy absence, Raducanu is playing at Melbourne Park under an injury-protected ranking of 103rd in the world.

Rogers, also playing under an injury-protected ranking, had been a fixture inside the top 50 before missing the second half of last season with an abdominal injury.

The winner will play China's Wang Yafan or Romanian 22nd seed Sorana Cirstea in the second round.

Raducanu and 57th-ranked Boulter, who is aiming to build on a career-best season in 2023, are among three Britons with direct entry to the women's singles.

Jodie Burrage is making her debut in the Australian Open main draw and takes on German world number 81 Tamara Korspatsch.

Who are the other Brits playing?

Murray, 36, was the only British player to land a seeded opponent when the draw was made at Melbourne Park on Thursday.

The world number 44, who said in a recent interview with BBC Sport this could be his last year before retirement, is likely to face Novak Djokovic if he reaches the third round.

Cameron Norrie is Britain's highest ranked player and seeded 19th. He faces Peru's Juan Pablo Varillas in a part of the draw which appears quite favourable.

Dan Evans continues his return after a calf injury by playing Italy's world number 46 Lorenzo Sonego and could face second seed Carlos Alcaraz in the next round.

Jack Draper is aiming to build on an encouraging end to the 2023 season and will face American Marcos Giron, who is ranked 60th and never been past the first round in Melbourne.

Two Britons - Francesca Jones and Oliver Crawford, an American-born player who recently switched allegiance - could yet join them in the main draw by coming through qualifying.

What other notable draws were there?

Defending champion Djokovic, who is aiming for a record-extending 11th men's singles title and a 25th major overall, starts against a qualifier or lucky loser.

Spain's Alcaraz missed last year's event with a hamstring injury and returns to face French veteran Richard Gasquet in the first round.

In a women's draw stacked with notable match-ups, top seed Iga Swiatek starts against 2020 champion Sofia Kenin.

If Swiatek comes through that test, she will face two-time champion Angelique Kerber - who is making a comeback after giving birth last year - or 2022 runner-up Danielle Collins in the second round.

Japan's Naomi Osaka has also returned from maternity leave and landed French 16th seed Caroline Garcia, while Kazakhstan's third seed Elena Rybakina takes on former world number one Karolina Pliskova.

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka starts against a qualifier, with US Open winner Coco Gauff - who could meet the Belarusian in the semi-finals - facing Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

Elsewhere in the men's draw, last year's runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas has been handed a tough task against injury-hit former semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini.

Third seed Daniil Medvedev, drawn in the same half as Alcaraz, starts against a qualifier, while Australian number one Alex de Minaur plays 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic.