Kyrgios to play world No.100 at the Open

The Australian Open draw has presented Nick Kyrgios with a golden opportunity to break through and land his maiden grand slam crown.

Novak Djokovic's ranking slump could make him the man to avoid when the Aussie Open draw is made.

Novak Djokovic's ranking slump could make him the man to avoid when the Aussie Open draw is made.

While some of the sport's biggest names, including six-time champion Novak Djokovic, face a torrid time merely surviving the first week of the year's first major starting on Monday, Kyrgios could scarcely have scripted a better draw as the 17th seed.

The 22-year-old has avoided the prospect of running into grand slam giants Roger Federer, world No.1 Rafael Nadal or Djokovic until at least the semi-finals.

Kyrgios will launch his Open campaign against Brazil's world No.100 Rogerio Dutra Silva for the right to meet either Australian wildcard Alex Bolt or Serbian Viktor Troicki.

Australia's top-ranked player's first big test is likely to come against either French 15th seed and former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Canadian prodigy Denis Shapovalov in the third round.

Kyrgios could strike Bulgarian world No.3 Grigor Dimitrov, who won the 2017 season-ending championship, in the fourth round, while his great mate and world No.8 Jack Sock looms as the Canberran's projected quarter-final opponent.

If the Brisbane International champion carries his early-season form into the summer slam and makes the last four, Kyrgios could meet Nadal.

Australia's 2014 Open quarter-finalist has twice beaten the the 16-times grand slam champion, including last August in Cincinnati and would fancy his chances of another blockbuster battle.

Kyrgios landed on the opposite side of the draw to defending champion Federer, raising the possibility of a dream final for Open officials.

Federer opens his title defence against Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene, while the top-ranked Nadal plays Colombian Victor Estrella Burgos.

Djokovic, seeded a lowly 14th after six months out of tennis with an elbow injury, has been pitch-forked into the quarter of world No.4 Alexander Zverev and will start against American left-hander Donald Young.

The Serbian superstar could strike flamboyant French star Gael Monfils in the second round.

Australian No.2 Matt Ebden has a tough opener against big-serving American 16th seed John Isner, while in-form teenage wildcard Alex de Minaur is up against 15th-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych.

Australian women's No.1 Ashleigh Barty, the 18th seed, faces Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, while 23rd seed Daria Gavrilova opens against a qualifier in her bid to reach the second week for a third-straight year.

Samantha Stosur plays Puerto Rico's reigning Olympic champion Monica Puig.

Teenage wildcard Destanee Aiava, who on Thursday admitted she needs a break from tennis after the Open, will get no respite at Melbourne Park after drawing Romanian world No.1 Simona Halep in a daunting first-round show-court encounter.

Australia is guaranteed at least one woman in the second round after wildcards Jaimee Fourlis and Olivia Rogowska were pitted against each other first up.

Among the most intriguing first-round women's encounters is seven-time grand slam champion Venus Williams, who lost last year's final to sister Serena, against unseeded Swiss ace Belinda Bencic, who won last week's Hopman Cup with Federer.

Former champion and four-time finalist Maria Sharapova - now world No.47 after her comeback from a doping ban - plays German Tatjana Maria.

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