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Australian Open women’s draw: Simona Halep faces US Open conqueror Kaia Kanepi

The main draw of the first Grand Slam of the season at Melbourne Park has just been released.

World No 1 Simona Halep has been drawn against Kaia Kanepi in the Australian Open first round, five months after losing in straight sets to the Estonian at the US Open.

Britain’s Johanna Konta will face Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic, while Serena Williams takes on German Tatjana Maria.

Second seed Angelique Kerber will play Polona Hercog and third seed Caroline Wozniacki up against Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium.

British No 2 Heather Watson takes on 31st seed Petra Martic, while fellow Briton Katie Boulter faces world No 57 Ekaterina Makarova.

Halep finally broke her Grand Slam duck in 2018 with French Open glory, but the Romanian crashed out of the first round in New York when losing 6-2 6-4 to Kanepi.

Kanepi, 33, is yet to progress beyond the third round of the Australian Open, though she has reached the quarter-finals twice at every other Grand Slam.

Should Halep progress to the last 16 in Melbourne then Serena could await, while Venus Williams is also a potential third-round opponent.

Venus faces 25th seed Mihaela Buzarnescu in the first round, while Serena could come up against Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the second.

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