Richard Berankis, who ranks 96th in the ATP ranking, will start in the tournament against Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena, who is 20 places higher.
Interestingly, the two tennis players met two years ago at the start of the Australian Open. Then R. Berankis won without any problems – 6: 4, 6: 2, 6: 2.
However, a year earlier, Lithuanians had to acknowledge the Spanish advantage in Moscow – 2: 6, 6: 4, 3: 6.
The tennis players are still playing and in 2018, in the semi-final of the Brest tournament in France, R. Berankis easily won 6: 2, 6: 2.
So far, the Lithuanian is leading the history of mutual confrontations – 2: 1.
Carballes Baena, 28, 183 cm tall, had climbed to 71th place in his career in the highest ATP rankings, with the Spaniard just two months ago. By comparison, Berankis was 50 a little over five years ago.
The Spaniard will compete in the main Australian Open only for the fourth time, and his best achievement to date is the second round last year.
Berankis will compete in Melbourne for the ninth time. In 2011 and 2013, the Vilnius resident entered the third round of the competition.
The winners of this pair in the second round are facing a challenge from the Russian Andrei Rubliov (ATP-5) or the Italian Gianluca Mager (ATP-63).
N. Djokovic, the first rocket in the world, found out about his rival in Melbourne.
A Serb who had problems arriving in Australia after being closed for four days by a migrant hotel due to a revoked visa should fight against his compatriot Miomir Kečmanovich (ATP-78) in the first stage.
True, it is still unclear whether the nine-time winner of the Australian Open will be able to claim the tenth title. Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke continues to consider exercising the right to deprive Djokovic of his visa and deport him. According to the Australian government, the Serb arrived in the country without proving medical reasons why he could not get vaccinated against COVID-19, even though the vaccine is mandatory for those coming to Australia.
More tennis stars also found out about their rivals in the tournament starting on Monday.
Rafael Nadal (ATP-6), who won the tournament in 2009, will test his strength with American Marcos Giron (ATP-66) in the first round.
Last year’s finalist Russian Danilo Medvedev (ATP-2) is facing a battle with Swiss Henry Laaksonen (ATP-92).
And Scott Andy Murray (ATP-135), who has played in the finals of the tournament five times and received a nominal invitation this year, will try to overcome the barrier of Nikoloz Basilashvili (ATP-23).