Australia's tennis stars have been handed horror draws for the US Open starting on Monday, with former women's champion Samantha Stosur the only realistic hope of reaching the second week.
Marinko Matosevic copped the worst of it, striking in-form second seed and 17-times major winner Roger Federer in the opening round, while Lleyton Hewitt, Bernard Tomic and young gun Nick Kyrgios also have their work cut out at the season's final major.
Contesting his 14th and possibly last US Open, 33-year-old Hewitt - the 2001 men's champion at Flushing Meadows - has drawn big-hitting sixth seed Tomas Berdych in the first round.
The veteran court warrior will have to draw on all his trademark fighting spirit to negotiate a way past the world No 6 but will no doubt source hope from his second-round upset last year over sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro.
Tomic has a most winnable opener against world No 98 Dustin Brown but is projected to meet fourth seed David Ferrer in the second round.
Tasked with the impossible assignment of trying to follow up his giant-killing upset of then-world No 1 Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon last month, Kyrgios has drawn two-time Open semi-finalist and 21st seed Mikhail Youzhny.
Matt Ebden takes on Tobias Kamke while power-serving Sam Groth plays Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his debut at Flushing Meadows.
It was Youzhny who denied Hewitt an eighth quarter-final appearance in New York 12 months ago.
Stosur, seeded 24th this year, opens against American Lauren Davis.
The one-time world No 4 has had a disappointing season but found form this week in New Haven, trouncing Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard in a big confidence booster.
Spanish 15th seed Carla Suarez Navarro is the first seeded obstacle in Stosur's path if both make the third round, while world No 1 Serena Williams is likely to be waiting in the fourth round.
Stosur rolled Williams in straight sets in the 2011 final at Flushing Meadows and last week, in a precursor to her improved form, lost two tight tie-breaker sets to the American in Cincinnati.
Seeded for the first time at a grand slam event, Casey Dellacqua plays little-known Austrian Patricia Mayr-Achleitner in the first round.
If Dellacqua wins her opener, the 29th seed will play a qualifier second up and is projected to run into eighth seed Ana Ivanovic in round three. - AAP