The draw ceremony was held on Wednesday night for the 2018 Australian Open with three Canadians, Eugenie Bouchard (Montreal, QC), Milos Raonic (Thornhill, ON), and Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON) earning direct entry into the first Grand Slam of the season.
Raonic, seeded no. 22 in the men’s draw, will open against Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko, ranked no. 90 in the world. The Canadian made his return to the ATP Tour last week in Brisbane where he fell in the opening round to young Aussie Alex De Minaur. It will be the second meeting between the two players with Raonic winning their first match 6-3, 6-3 in Tokyo in 2013. Last year in Melbourne, Raonic reached the quarter-finals before falling to eventual finalist Rafael Nadal.
Joining Raonic in the men’s draw is Shapovalov who will be part of an intriguing Next Gen match in the opening round against 19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, ranked no. 80 in the world. Shapovalov, ranked no. 50 in the world, will be making his Australian Open main draw debut and although this will be his first encounter against Tsitsipas, the two met three times in in juniors with Shapovalov winning twice, including at Roland-Garros and Wimbledon in 2016. The 18-year-old Canadian won his first match of the season this week in Auckland before falling to Juan Martin Del Potro in round two.
On the women’s side, Bouchard will face world no. 87 Océane Dodin of France. Dodin has not played since the National Bank Cup in Quebec City last September where she was forced to withdraw because of health problems. Should Bouchard get past Dodin, she could meet World No. 1 Simona Halep in the second round. In 2017, Bouchard was defeated in Melbourne by American Coco Vandeweghe in the third round.
Meanwhile, Canadians Françoise Abanda (Montreal, QC), Frank Dancevic (Niagara Falls, ON), Peter Polansky (Thornhill, ON), and Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver, BC) are still alive in qualifying and will attempt to join their three compatriots in the main draw over the coming days.