Samantha Stosur's bid to end a string of first-round exits at the Australian Open has received a boost, with the former world No.4 drawn against American qualifier Catherine McNally.
The 35-year-old will be aiming to avoid a fifth first-round defeat in a row at her home grand slam when she takes on McNally in the last match on Melbourne Arena on Monday night.
The encounter will be the first singles meeting between the pair.
While McNally won't be a pushover, the 2011 US Open champion could have received much tougher assignments to kick off her 18th Melbourne Park campaign.
The 18-year-old right-hander, currently ranked No.116 in the world, is playing in just her third grand slam singles draw and is coming off three qualifying matches in tough conditions in Melbourne.
Stosur, currently the world No.99, defeated former No.1 Angelique Kerber at the Brisbane International and enters the tournament reinvigorated by her work with new coach Rennae Stubbs.
"We've been trying to work on a couple of specific things and improve in all different sorts of ways," Stosur said.
"She's got really good energy so it's exciting being out on court practising with her and then in matches being able to feed off all of that as well.
"She knows what it feels like to be playing in a big match and the emotions that come with playing big tournaments.
"It's been really good so far and hopefully we can continue all year."
Stosur's best singles results at Melbourne Park came in 2006 and 2010 when she made it to the fourth round.
She has enjoyed more success in the doubles tournament, winning last year's Australian Open partnered with China's Shuai Zhang.
"It was a big highlight of 2019 for me, to win a title at home was incredible," she said.
"So it's nice to be coming back to a tournament that I left with fantastic memories.
"It would be great if we could do it all over again."
Australian Associated Press