Aiava braces for encounter with Halep

Ben McKay
Destanee Aiava faces a horror first round against world No.1 Simona Halep at the Australian Open

Destanee Aiava wants a break from tennis, but first the Melbourne teenager must play on one of the biggest stages in the sport after copping a horror first-round Australian Open draw.

Ashleigh Barty should have little trouble with Belarusian teen Aryna Sabalenka in the first round while Daria Gavrilova plays a qualifier and Samantha Stosur faces Olympic gold medallist Monica Puig.

But it's 17-year-old Aiava who is set for centre court at her home grand slam after drawing world No.1 Simona Halep in the first round.

And unless she focuses, it might get ugly for the world No.193, who claimed her place at Melbourne Park after winning the Australian Open wildcard playoff last month.

Aiava was near tears after a 6-2 6-0 defeat to Eugenie Bouchard at the Kooyong Classic on Thursday, confessing to difficulty concentrating against Canada's former Open semi-finalist.

"Mentally (I'm) not there but, hopefully, I can get there all together by the first round," she said after the defeat.

"This whole tennis thing is kind of getting to me.

"Hopefully after the (Australian) Open, I will get a break which is what I want and what I need."

Aiava debuted at Melbourne Park last year, losing a tight first-round encounter to Mona Barthel.

Fellow Australian teeanage ace Alex de Minaur is in a much better frame of mind to step up to the challenge of men's 19th seed Tomas Berdych.

But while de Minaur, 18, is in career-best form after semi-final appearances in Brisbane and Sydney, the big-serving Czech has a strong pedigree, as he showed in winning the Tie Break Tens event against Rafael Nadal on Wednesday.

Matthew Ebden, Jason Kubler and Ajla Tomljanovic must also play seeds first up.

Top-ranked Australian Nick Kyrgios was the big draw winner, opening against world No.100 Rogerio Dutra Silva, with third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov and eighth-seeded Jack Sock his likely main impediments to a semi-final appearance.

And while Barty, Australia's leading woman, might like her first-round opponent, who is ranked 69th, it soon gets tougher.

Red-hot Italian Camila Giorgi awaits in the second round, with Halep a possible fourth-round foe.

Thanasi Kokkinakis might have found a manageable pocket of the draw but will face a stern test against fellow next-gen star Daniil Medvedev first up.

And there might just be another couple of Australians joining the nine local men and eight Australian women in the first round.

On Thursday, John-Patrick Smith and Bradley Mousley won through to final-round qualifying matches.

They could be joined by Bernard Tomic, should he beat American Tommy Paul on Friday.

OPEN DRAW FOR AUSSIE MEN:

* 17-Nick Kyrgios v Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA)

* Matthew Ebden v 16-John Isner (USA)

* Jordan Thompson v Nicolas Kicker (ARG)

* Alex de Minaur v Tomas Berdych (CZE)

* John Millman v Borna Coric (CRO)

* Alex Bolt v Viktor Troicki (SRB)

* Thanasi Kokkinakis v Daniil Medvedev (RUS)

* Jason Kubler v 10-Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP)

* Alexei Popyrin v Tim Smyczek (USA)

OPEN DRAW FOR AUSSIE WOMEN:

* 18-Ashleigh Barty v Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)

* 23-Daria Gavrilova v qualifier

* Samantha Stosur v Monica Puig (PUR)

* Ajla Tomljanovic v 29-Lucie Safarova (CZE)

* Destanee Aiava v 1-Simona Halep (ROM)

* Lizette Cabrera v Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA)

* Jaimee Fourlis v Olivia Rogowska