Saturday 4 July, 2020

World No. 1 Halep faces local teen wildcard at Australian Open

Simona Halep playing at the 2017 Australian Open.

Simona Halep playing at the 2017 Australian Open.

World number one Simona Halep will begin her Australian Open campaign against local teenage wildcard Destanee Aiava.

Halep has suffered first-round defeats in her last two trips to Melbourne and remains without a grand slam title, having lost two French Open finals, including last year's to Jelena Ostapenko.

Third seed and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza will face French wildcard Jessika Ponchet, with former world number one and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber placed in her quarter of the draw. 

The German, who has reached the Sydney semi-finals, gets under way against compatriot Anna-Lena Friedsam.

With Serena Williams absent as she regains fitness after giving birth, Kerber is one of just two former winners in the field - Maria Sharapova is the other and will begin her campaign against Tatjana Maria of Germany.

Caroline Wozniacki, WTA Finals champion and the second seed, faces Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Venus Williams lost last year's final to her pregnant, younger sister and has been drawn against Belinda Bencic in round one.

Ostapenko will take on veteran Francesca Schiavone, while US Open winner Sloane Stephens begins against Zhang Shuai.

Fourth seed Elina Svitolina, champion in Brisbane last week, has been drawn against an as-yet unknown qualifier.

A world number one last year, Karolina Pliskova (6) takes on Veronica Cepede Royg, and eighth seed Caroline Garcia has been drawn against Carina Witthoeft.

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