Photo: Martin Sidorjak

All-Canadian clash between Félix Auger-Aliassime and Vasek Pospisil headlines first round

The draw for the 2023 Australian Open was made on Thursday as seven Canadians prepare to take part in the year’s opening Grand Slam. Félix Auger-Aliassime (Montreal, QC), Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON), Vasek Pospisil (Vernon, BC), Leylah Annie Fernandez (Laval, QC), Bianca Andreescu (Mississauga, ON), Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC) and Katherine Sebov (Toronto, ON) – who earned her place in the main draw via qualifying – all learned of their first-round opponents.

An all-Canadian clash between Davis Cup teammates and World Champions Auger-Aliassime and Pospisil headlines the men’s draw. Currently sitting at No. 7 on the ATP Tour, Auger-Aliassime is the highest-ranked Canadian heading into the tournament, while Pospisil is currently placed No. 94. This will be the fifth meeting of their careers and the second in the first round of a Grand Slam after they faced off at Wimbledon in 2019. Auger-Aliassime won their first three encounters, including that one at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, but Pospisil triumphed in their most-recent meeting, a 7-5, 7-5 victory at the ATP 500 Erste Bank Open in 2020. The winner of their first-round encounter in Melbourne will face either Alex Molcan of Slovakia or Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in round two with a potential round-of-16 clash with Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie, the No. 11 seed, and a quarter-final against No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.

Elsewhere on the men’s side, Shapovalov (No. 22) will take on Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic in the first round. This will be just the second meeting of their careers after they faced off at the 2021 ATP 1000 Madrid Open – Shapovalov claiming a 6-1, 6-3 victory. Should the Canadian advance against Lajovic, he will face the winner of the United States’ Ernesto Escobedo and Japan’s Taro Daniel in the second round with potential round-of-16 matchup against No. 7 seed Daniil Medvedev and a quarter-final against reigning champion Rafael Nadal of Spain.

Click here to see the men’s singles draw in full.

Photo: Martin Sidorjak

On the women’s side, Fernandez, ranked No. 39 on the WTA Tour, will begin her Australian Open campaign against France’s Alize Cornet (No. 34). Their only previous meeting came at 2021’s Indian Wells as the Canadian secured a straight-sets 6-2, 6-3 victory. Should Fernandez beat Cornet again, she faces the prospect of a second-round match with compatriot Sebov, who won three rounds of qualifying to earn her place in the first Grand Slam main draw of her career. First, the 24-year-old Sebov will have to overcome World No. 4 and 2022 WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia of France. Potential latter-round matchups for Fernandez or Sebov include a round-of-16 clash with No. 16 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia and a quarter-final against No. 8 seed Daria Kasatkina.

Meanwhile, 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, ranked No. 42 in the world, is set to face the Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova, seeded No. 25, in the first round. This will be the fourth meeting of their careers so far with the Canadian currently holding a 2-1 record against her opponent. Should Andreescu seal a victory against the Czech, she could be in line for a third-round match against World No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland. Marino, ranked No. 66 on the WTA Tour following a stand-out 2022 season, will take on China’s Lin Zhu in the first round for their third meeting in the space of less than 12 months. In the head-to-head, they each have one win to their name. The winner of their match will take on either Great Britain’s Harriet Dart or No. 32 seed Jil Teichmann of Switzerland.

Click here to see the women’s singles draw in full.

The doubles draw, in which Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa, ON) is set to take part, will be made in due course.