The stage is set for the first Grand Slam of 2019.
With the release of the Australian Open main draw, tennis season is fully underway.
Canada will be represented by a few well-known faces, and a very promising new one. Some legends will try to break records, while others might be saying their final goodbyes.
Here are five storylines to watch in Melbourne.
Andreescu ready for the big stage
“With what happened last week, I think I can get pretty far into next week,” Canadian Bianca Andreescu told the Associated Press Thursday after qualifying for the Aussie Open main draw.
The 18-year-old saw two of her three qualifying opponents forfeit due to injuries, but her road to Melbourne is no fluke. Andreescu is coming off a statement-making finals loss in Auckland against Julia Goerges after upsetting defending Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki and tennis legend Venus Williams.
After securing her place in the main draw, the Mississauga, Ont., native has a number of new challenges ahead, as she’s in the same bracket half as No. 1 seed Simona Halep and Serena Williams. If last week is any indication, though, she’s up for the task.
Her first match will be against 16-year-old American Whitney Osuigwe, who earned a wild-card spot to the tournament.
Bianca Andreescu celebrates with her team after qualifying for the #AusOpen main draw
She’s been drawn to face 16-year-old American wild card Whitney Osuigwe in the first round. pic.twitter.com/xJVPsLarrD
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) January 11, 2019
Andreescu is one of four Canadians who qualified for the singles main draw.
Coming off a quarterfinals singles appearance and her first career doubles title in Auckland, Eugenie Bouchard could also meet with Halep and Williams early on. Her first match will be against wild-card earner Shuai Peng, from China.
Milos Raonic is still searching for his first Grand Slam title after reaching a Wimbledon final in 2016, and will face Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the first round.
Denis Shapovalov will look to make a deeper run at the tournament this year after being knocked down in the second round in 2018. His first-round matchup will be against veteran Pablo Andujar, from Spain.
Defending Australian Open mixed doubles champion Gabriela Dabrowski still awaits the main draw, which should be released over the weekend. She’s expected to play women’s doubles as well as the mixed tournament.
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Source:: Sportsnet.ca – Sports news