2022 Australian Open: Sofia Kenin, Taylor Fritz lead 34 Americans in singles draws
The U.S. contingent in the main draw at the 2022 Australian Open will be 34 strong, as top-ranked Americans Sofia Kenin and Taylor Fritz lead the Red, White and Blue in Melbourne. Team USA has a total of 19 women and 15 men in the 128-player draws, including four seeded women and three seeded men.
Three all-American matchups are set for Round 1, highlighted by 2020 Australian Open champ Kenin taking on a resurgent Madison Keys. No. 27 seed Danielle Collins, who made her Grand Slam breakthrough by reaching the Melbourne semis in 2019, will face American qualifier Caroline Dolehide, while big servers John Isner and Maxime Cressy will battle it out in the men's first round.
But the marquee match of the opening round could be Sloane Stephens vs. Emma Raducanu, a matchup between the 2017 US Open champ and the reigning Queen of New York. The newly married Stephens, who wed American soccer star Jozy Altidore in Florida on New Year's Day, will be making her competitive debut on the new season when she takes the court for Round 1.
On the men's side, tough draws could spell big opportunities for a trio of Americans. Marcos Giron drew No. 6 seed Rafael Nadal in the Spaniard's return to Grand Slam action, while Brandon Nakashima plays No. 7 Matteo Berrettini and Sebastian Korda faces No. 12 Cameron Norrie.
Keys, Gauff excited for fresh starts
The 26-year-old Keys put a difficult 2021 season behind her by reaching the final this week at the Adelaide WTA 250, where the American beat Elina Svitolina and Coco Gauff to reach her first final in two full years.
"It means probably a lot more than anyone would even know," Keys said of reaching the title round, where she'll face compatriot Alison Riske on Saturday (Friday night in the U.S.).
Update (1/15): Keys defeated Riske to win the Adelaide title
"It's definitely not my biggest final I've ever been in, but it means a lot after the year that I had. I am just really enjoying tennis again and trying to not act as if every match is the last match that I'll ever play in my life.
"I was getting really caught up in what my ranking meant and winning and losing. All of a sudden it was like this number next to my name meant more about me than literally anything else in the world. I just got way too in all of that."
With Kenin awaiting her in Melbourne, Keys is set to play in three straight all-American matchups, starting with her win over Gauff in a dramatic three-set semifinal.
The No. 18 seed Gauff, who went three sets with world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty a week ago, will face China's Qiang Wang in her opening match.
“I'm super excited for this year," Gauff said at a recent presser. "I really do feel like I had a good preseason and I feel really confident on the court. Even though the preseason was two months, I feel like I improved so much during those couple months of training. I'm hoping that I can show that to you guys and show that to myself in the matches”.
Jessica Pegula, a quarterfinalist in Melbourne one year ago, is seeded 21st this year and faces Ukraine's Anhelina Kalinina in Round 1. Jennifer Brady and Serena Williams, who reached the final and semifinals at the 2021 Aussie Open, respectively, both miss out this year due to physical issues.
Fritz, Isner, Opelka seeded in Melbourne
Taylor Fritz will play his first Grand Slam as America's No. 1 man as he looks to build on a stellar finish to the 2021 season—one in which he reached the semifinals at Indian Wells and the quarterfinals at the Paris Master to earn that distinction.
The 24-year-old has competed in just one event in '22, representing the U.S. at the ATP Cup with singles wins over Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime and Great Britain's Norrie. Seeded No. 20 in Melbourne, Fritz faces Maxamilian Marterer of Germany in Round 1. Frances Tiafoe could await in Round 2, with the American set to open against Argentina's Marco Trungelleti.
No. 23 seed Reilly Opelka, fresh off a semifinal run at the ATP 250 in Sydney, faces 2017 US Open finalist Kevin Anderson in a opening-round battle of big hitters. Opelka lost a tough three-setter to Andy Murray on Friday, but looked sharp in reaching the semis. Like Fritz, the 24-year-old is seeking to back up a breakout 2021 season that included a final at the Canada Masters and a semifinal at the Rome Masters. Those results, along with a career-best major run to the US Open Round of 16, helped him break into the Top 20 for the first time in September.
Isner is seeded 22nd at the Australian Open, and faces a tall task against the in-form Maxime Cressy. The former UCLA star made his Grand Slam debut at the 2022 Australian Open, and notched the biggest win of his career at the US Open, where he defeated No. 9 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in a five-set comeback. Cressy opened his 2022 season by reaching the final as a qualifier at the ATP 250 event in Melbourne earlier this month, beating Opelka and Grigor Dimitrov along the way before a loss to Nadal in what was the American's first ATP final.
Main draw play is set to begin on Monday in Australia (Sunday evening in the U.S.).
For more from Melborne, including complete draws, order of play and more, visit the official Australian Open website.
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