Melbourne: Five-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic could face record Grand Slam winner Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the season's opening Grand Slam, while world number one and top seed Serena Williams faces a potential quarter-final clash with long time rival Maria Sharapova following Friday's draw in Melbourne.
The 10-time Grand Slam champion from Serbia is projected to face Japan's seventh seed Kei Nishikori in the quarters, while Switzerland's 17-time major winner Federer is set to meet Czech Tomas Berdych in the second quarter-final of the top half of the men's draw.
Top seed Djokovic, who wore down Andy Murray to win last year's final at Melbourne Park, won three Grand Slam titles among 11 tournament victories in a stellar 2015 season, and a win-loss record of 82-6.
He will play South Korean Hyeon Chung in the opening round.
Federer, who lost to Djokovic in the Wimbledon and US Open finals last year, will play Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili to get his campaign underway.
Williams, who is chasing her seventh Australian crown and 22nd Grand Slam title after beating Sharapova in last year's final, will have a testing start against Italian Camila Giorgi, the highest ranked non-seeded player in the women's draw.
She could also meet former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round before a possible showdown with Sharapova, who has failed to beat Williams since 2004.
The American, who also won Wimbledon and the French Open in a glittering 2015 season, has been troubled by a knee injury since the US Open in September, but said at the draw that she was in good shape for the year's opening major.
"Everything is really well and I am feeling really good," Williams said. "I've been training every day for so long and I'm ready."
Williams is expected to play on Monday while the women's bottom half of the draw will start on Tuesday.
Explosive young Australian Nick Kyrgios, seeded 29, could face Berdych in the third round.
British second seed Murray, who has lost in four Australian Open finals, is drawn to meet Spanish terrier David Ferrer in the quarter-finals in the bottom half of the men's draw.
The Scot will take on Germany's Alexander Zverev in the opening round, while eighth seed Ferrer could face Lleyton Hewitt in the second round in the Australian great's 20th consecutive and farewell home Grand Slam before his retirement.
Murray could have a showdown with top-ranked Australian youngster Bernard Tomic in the fourth round.
Rafael Nadal faces a potential rematch of his losing 2014 final against Swiss fourth seed Stan Wawrinka in the other quarter-final in the bottom half of the draw.
Wawrinka is projected to face big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the fourth round, while Nadal, who won the Australian title only once in 2009, could take on South African Kevin Anderson in the last 16.
Wawrinka, who upset Djokovic in last year's French Open final for his second major win, opens against Russia's Dmitry Tursunov, while Nadal meets Spanish compatriot Fernando Verdasco.
Romanian second seed Simona Halep, who faces a qualifier first up, is drawn to meet Serena's elder sister and eighth seed Venus Williams in the quarters.
Poland's fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who faces American Christina McHale first, has a potential last-eight clash with Czech sixth seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
Two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka, who won the Brisbane International last weekend, could face Spanish third seed Garbine Muguruza in the fourth round, while German seventh seed Angelique Kerber is drawn to meet Muguruza or Azarenka in the quarters.
Men's Quarter-final projections in draw order:
Novak Djokovic v Kei Nishikori
Roger Federer v Tomas Berdych
Rafael Nadal v Stan Wawrinka
David Ferrer v Andy Murray
Women's Quarter-final projections in draw order:
Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova
Agnieszka Radwanska v Petra Kvitova
Garbine Muguruza v Angelique Kerber
Venus Williams v Simona Halep
Published Date: Jan 15, 2016 13:55 PM | Updated Date: Jan 15, 2016 13:57 PM