Kontaveit to face Astra Sharma in Australian Open first round
Tennis player Anett Kontaveit has been drawn against Astra Sharma in the first round of the Australian Open, with Kaia Kanepi meeting a qualifier yet to be announced.
Kontaveit and Sharma have never met before; Sharma, from Australia herself, is ranked 110th in the world, Kontaveit is 28th.
The winner would meet either Spanish player Sara Sorribes Tormo (WTA 88) or Veronika Kudermetova (WTA 42) of Russia. Appearing in the same quarter of the draw as Kontaveit are Belinda Bencic (WTA 6th) of Switzerland and former world number one Simona Halep of Romania (WTA 4th).
Kaia Kanepi has also automatically qualified for the tournament, but faces a qualifying player yet to be announced (qualifying games are currently taking place at Melbourne Park).
Should Kanepi go through, she would face either Ekaterina Aleksandrova (Russia, WTA 26th) or Jil Teichmann (Switzerland, WTA 67) in the second round.
World number one and local hero Ashleigh Barty, as well as Czech Petra Kvitova (WTA 7th) are in the same quarter of the draw.
This year's Australian Open is the fifth for 25-year-old Kontaveit, from Tallinn. Her career record there to date is the last 16, in 2018.
Kanepi, 34, from Haapsalu, has already played 10 times, progressing to the third round in 2009, and again in 2018. in fact, the tournament is the only grand slam competition which Kanepi has failed to reach at least the quarter finals.
The competition proper starts on Monday.
Warmup competitions continued in Brisbane and Adelaide despite the widespread bush fires in the country; Australian players including world men's number two Nick Kyrgios have helped to raise money towards the relief efforts.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte