Australian Open Day One Preview
Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka will get their Australian Open campaigns underway on Day One at Melbourne Park, whilst Jannik Sinner and Serena Williams also feature.
Novak Djokovic (1) vs Jeremy Chardy – Rod Laver Arena (Night session)
Djokovic, who already has eight Australian Open titles to his name, will be hoping to get his 17th Australian Open campaign off to the perfect start against 33-year-old Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
The head-to-head record between the pair makes grim reading for the Frenchman, who is yet to win a match or take a set off the Serbian in their previous 13 meetings, five of which have been in Major tournaments.
Coming into this event, Novak Djokovic and his Serbian team failed to defend their title after crashing out of the ATP Cup at the hands of Germany.
Despite the World No 1’s frustration, he performed well in both of his singles matches, beating Denis Shapovalov in straight sets before recovering from a set down to beat Alexander Zverev.
Chardy has also been in good form at the Murray River Open, beating Marin Cilic, Gilles Simon and Taylor Fritz before losing in straight sets to British No 1 Dan Evans 6-2 6-2 at the semi-final stage.
Since reaching the quarter-final stage at Melbourne Park in 2013, the Frenchman has struggled in this event, having failed to reach the third round in any of his last six attempts.
Denis Shapovalov (11) vs Jannik Sinner – Margaret Court Arena (Night session)
In arguably the most intriguing match up of the first round, 11th seed Denis Shapovalov takes on teenage sensation Jannik Sinner in the first ever meeting between the pair.
Denis Shapovalov comes into this encounter in poor form, having been unable to inspire his Canadian team at the ATP Cup with two defeats to Djokovic and Zverev, marking six consecutive defeats for the 21-year-old.
Contrastingly, his opponent Jannik Sinner is in superb form. The 19-year-old won his first ATP title in Sofia at the end of 2020 and could make it two successive ATP titles if he beats compatriot Stefano Travaglia in the final of the Great Ocean Road.
Both Sinner and Shapovalov had similar success in the Grand Slams last year having made one Major quarter-final appearance each, though the players are hoping to make the second week at Melbourne Park for the first time.
Naomi Osaka (3) vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova – Rod Laver Arena (Day session)
2019 Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka will kick off her Australian Open campaign against the tricky Russian Anastasia Pavlyunchenkova.
The Japanese star enters Melbourne as the most in-form player on the WTA circuit, having won every match she’s played since February 2020, which included a second US Open title.
By contrast, Osaka’s opponent has struggled for form, with her most recent loss coming against Garbine Muguruza 6-1 6-2 at the Yarra Valley Classic.
However, the Russian enjoyed an excellent run at the Australian Open last year, beating second seed Karolina Pliskova and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber on her way to the quarter-finals.
Pavlyunchenkova won the first match between the pair before Osaka won the two most recent encounters, though this will be the first meeting at a Grand Slam.
Serena Williams (10) vs Laura Siegemund – Rod Laver Arena (Day session)
Serena Williams is running out of time to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slams and could have had far easier first-round ties than World No 51 Laura Siegemund.
Prior to her withdrawal from the Yarra Valley classic with a shoulder injury, Serena Williams was in fine form at the pre-cursor event, having beaten Daria Gavrilova, Tsvetana Pironkova and compatriot Danielle Rose Collins to reach the semi-final stage.
Siegemund was in action at the Gippsland Trophy event this week, beating two lower-ranked opponents in routine fashion before losing comfortably to World No 2 Simona Halep 6-2 6-4 in the round of 16.
Despite being two of the more experienced competitors on the WTA circuit, the pair have only met twice with the American coming out on top in both encounters. In fact, the 39-year-old won both matches in straight sets, conceding a total of just 10 games to the German.
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