Maria Sharapova to face Ekaterina Makarova in Brisbane first round

World number four Sharapova, 28, who beat Ana Ivanovic in last year`s Brisbane final, leads Makarova 6-0 in their past meetings.

AFP| Last Updated: Jan 01, 2016, 21:30 PM IST
Maria Sharapova to face Ekaterina Makarova in Brisbane first round

Queensland: Maria Sharapova will open her Australian campaign with a match against Ekaterina Makarova following Friday`s draw for the Brisbane International.

Defending champion and third seed Sharapova will play world number 23 Makarova in a rematch from last year`s Australian Open semi-final.

"This was a grand slam semi-final last year in Australia," five-time grand slam champion Sharapova told reporters.

"For a first match, it`s a pretty high-quality match against a pretty tough opponent."

World number four Sharapova, 28, who beat Ana Ivanovic in last year`s Brisbane final, leads Makarova 6-0 in their past meetings.

World number two and top seed Simona Halep has drawn a bye for her opening round but could face two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka in the second round.

Spain`s Garbine Muguruza is the second seed. After a first-round bye she will face either American Varvara Lepchenko or Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

The women`s field boasts nine of the world`s top 20 as well as former world number ones Azarenka and Jelena Jankovic.

In the men`s draw, Australian wildcard Ben Mitchell or a qualifier are in line to become Roger Federer`s first opponent in 2016.

The 17-time grand slam champion Federer will receive a first-up bye.

Australia`s seventh seed Bernard Tomic will take on Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in the first round.

The tournament begins on Sunday.