Ashleigh Barty says she has her head down and tail up in Adelaide and won’t worry about her tough Australian Open draw until she heads to Melbourne.
Chasing another title at the the Adelaide International, Barty says her focus is on Friday night’s semi-final contest against American Danielle Collins.
“Look, I’m not going to think about it until whenever we’re done here (in Adelaide). Sunday night, Monday morning, we will worry about that,” the world No.1 said on Thursday night when questioned by reporters.
I have seen that I will play on Monday but I’m looking forward to tomorrow first before focusing on anything for next week.”
At the Open [starting on January 20 at Melbourne Park] , Barty has drawn Ukrainian world No.120 Lesia Tsurenko in a first-round fixture.
But after a relatively user-friendly first week, her second week could get tricky.
Barty may have to beat Alison Riske, Petra Kvitova, defending champion Naomi Osaka or seven-times winner Serena Williams in consecutive matches to reach the championship decider.
Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka meets Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska in the other semi-final in Adelaide.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2020
Thursday night’s Australian Open draw pitted Barty in the same top half as third seed Osaka and eighth seed Williams.
Grand slam draws, though, rarely pan out as predicted and Barty will be focusing solely on her opener against Tsurenko on Monday.
The Ukraine was ranked as high as 23rd in the world after reaching the 2018 US Open quarter-finals.
If she progresses in Melbourne, Barty will play world No.44 Rebecca Peterson or the 48th-ranked Polona Hercog in the second round.
World No.36 Elena Rybakina is her projected third-round opponent, with world No.14 Petra Martic or 18th seed Riske – who abruptly ended Barty’s 15-match European winning streak last July in London – likely to be lying in wait in the last 16.
Barty potentially faces Kvitova in the quarters and Osaka or Williams in the semis, with world No.2 Karolina Pliskova heading up a softer bottom half of the draw also featuring Wimbledon champion Simon Halep.
But Barty says all that must wait, with her sole objective being Collins in in Adelaide.
The American world No.27, who made the Australian Open semi-finals last year, is in blistering touch – she has demolished two top-15 players in her past two outings.
Collins on Thursday blitzed world No.7 Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-1, after a 6-3 6-1 dismantling of world No.15 Sofia Kenin in the second round in Adelaide.
“Danielle is obviously striking the ball exceptionally well,” Barty said. “In Brisbane she started with a bang … So it will be important for me to have my running shoes on, try and neutralise when I can and then bring in variety and try and throw her off a little bit if I can.”
On the mens side of the Australian Open draw, Nick Kyrgios will open his campaign against unseeded Italian Lorenzo Sonego.
With Alex de Minaur pulling out injured on Thursday, Kyrgios will be Australia’s top men’s hope when the season’s first grand slam gets under way on Monday.
Seeded 23rd, Kyrgios’s first big test is likely to come against Russian star Karen Khachanov in round three and the former quarter-finalist could run into world No.1 Rafael Nadal in the round of 16.
In-form 2018 US Open quarter-finalist John Millman will open his campaign against rising Frenchman Ugo Humbert, while Davis Cup teammate Jordan Thompson plays Kazakh Alexander Bublik (KAZ)
Young gun Alexei Popyrin, who made the third round last year, has a tough opener against former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
James Duckworth opens against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene, Chris O’Connell takes on Russian 17th seed Andrey Rublev and fellow wildcard Andrew Harris can expect a show-court showdown with eighth seed Matteo Berrettini, a US Open semi-finalist last year.
Marc Polmans meets Mikhail Kukushkin and Alex Bolt, who was also awarded a wildcard following his charge to the last 32 in 2019, plays Spaniard Albert Vinolas Ramos.
Wildcard playoff winner faces Argentina’s 22nd seed Guido Pella.
Other highlights of the draw included six-times winner Roger Federer landing in the same side as seven-times champion Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams plucked out to meet 15-year-old American sensation Coco Gauff in a repeat of their 2019 Wimbledon opener – which the teenager won before reaching the fourth round.
AUSTRALIANS IN THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN FIRST ROUND
1-Ashleigh Barty v Lesia Tsurenko
Ajla Tomljanovic v 31-Anastasija Sevastova (LAT)
Samantha Stosur v qualifier
Priscilla Hon v Kateryna Kozlova (UKR)
Astra Sharma v 28-Anett Kontaveit (EST)
Lizette Cabrera v qualifier
Arina Rodionova v Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR)
23-Nick Kyrgios v Lorenzo Sonego (ITA)
John Millman v Ugo Humbert (FRA)
Jordan Thompson v Alexander Bublik (KAZ)
Alexei Popyrin v 28-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
James Duckworth v Aljaz Bedene (SLO)
Chris O’Connell v 17-Andrey Rublev (RUS)
Marc Polmans v Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)
Alex Bolt v Albert Vinolas Ramos (ESP)
Andrew Harris v 8-Matteo Berrettini (ITA)
John-Patrick Smith v 22-Guido Pella (ARG)