MELBOURNE, Australia — Defending champion Serena Williams and No. 5-ranked Maria Sharapova were drawn into the same section for the Australian Open on Friday, meaning last year’s finalists could meet in the quarterfinals.
Six-time champion Williams has a tough draw starting in the opening round against Camila Giorgi of Italy, who finished 2015 at No. 34 and was the highest-ranked player who was not seeded for the season’s first major. Williams could also meet former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round.
Men’s champion Novak Djokovic will open against Chung Hyeon of South Korea and, if results go with rankings, could meet No. 7 Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Roger Federer in the semis.
Federer, who has won four Australian titles among his 17 majors, opens against Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, and possibly Alexandr Dolgopolov in the second and No. 27 Grigor Dimitrov in the third.
No 2-ranked Andy Murray will open again Alexander Zverev of Germany, and on the same half of the draw, No. 5 Rafael Nadal opens again fellow Spaniard and 2009 Australian Open semifinalist Fernando Verdasco.