Sunday, January 18, 2009

Australian Open: Matches to Watch on Day 1

The Aussie Open kicks off tomorrow. Although some people opt to skip watching the first rounds, I of course choose to follow every single detail.

The men's seeds playing on Monday include Roger Federer [2], Novak Djokovic [3], Andy Roddick [7], Juan Martin Del Potro [8], Marat Safin [26], David Nalbandian [10], David Ferrer [11], and some more.

On the women's side, Jelena Jankovic [1], Dinara Safina [3], Daniela Hantuchova [19], Ana Ivanovic [5], Vera Zvonareva [7], and Carolina Wozniaki [11] will all be in action.

My picks of the day would be
(and by picks I mean those matches that could be the most competitive of the day) :

Tomas Berdych [20] vs Robby Ginepri - on Show Court 3 at 11:00 a.m.

The world's number 21 and 47 will battle it out on kick off day in Melbourne. Berdych is 2-0 against Ginepri with the most recent win coming in Paris late last season (Berdych won 6-4, 7-5). Both players have had a similar pre-Australian Open season as Berdych suffered a second round exit in Brisbane (to Kei Nishikori) and a first round loss in Sydney (to Chris Guccione) while Ginepri suffered a first round defeat in Brisbane (to Julien Benneteau in 3 sets) and a second round loss in Auckland (to John Isner in 3 sets).

Both players' best appearance in Melbourne is a 4th round showing, however Berdych reached the 4th round for the last 2 years (lost to Federer in 2008 and Davydenko in 2007), while Ginepri's sole 4th round showing was back in 2004 (lost to Grosjean).

Also given the fact that both players have a game suitable for hardcourts, this match should be an interesting one.

Paul-Henri Mathieu [28] vs Jarkko Nieminen - on Court 13, 4th match from an 11:00 a.m. start

Mathieu and Nieminen have only met once before on the ATP circuit, when Nieminen beat the Frenchman, in Adelaide in 2006. Mathieu's preparation for the Australian Open this year includes a semifinal showing in Brisbane (lost to Verdsaco), and a second round exit in Sydney (lost to Djokovic), while Nieminen is coming off an impressive final showing in Sydney (lost to Nalbandian in the final, beat Djokovic in the semis), after losing in the Brisbane second round to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Nieminen, ranked 38 in the world, reached the Australian Open quarterfinals last year (lost to Nadal), while Mathieu's best performance in Melbourne are 2 fourth round appearances in 2008 (lost to Nadal) and 2006 (lost to Grosjean).

Other fixtures on Monday include:

On Rod Laver Arena

Andy Roddick(USA)[7] vs Bjorn Rehnquist(SWE)
Andrea Stoppini(ITA) vs Novak Djokovic(SRB)[3]
Andreas Seppi(ITA) vs Roger Federer(SUI)[2]

On Hisense Arena

Juan Martin Del Potro(ARG)[8] vs Mischa Zverev(GER)
Marat Safin(RUS)[26] vs Ivan Navarro(ESP)

On Margaret Court Arena

Marc Gicquel(FRA) vs David Nalbandian(ARG)[10]

For the complete order of play, check here...
For knowing the time in Melbourne, check here...

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