Another year of records to be broken. The big three will be looking to add to their tally where as the Next Gen will be finally hoping to change that trend and some opening round matches could derail things…
Daniil Medvedev v Frances Tiafoe
Daniil will probably be one of the favourites to win here. We saw him in Flushing Meadows and in ATP Cup perform extremely well after a fantastic 2019 season.
His run in London didn’t go to plan but I expect him to have too much for Tiafoe.
Frances of course is defending some big points in Melbourne having made it to the quarter finals last year. I feel like this is a big year for him otherwise I worry he could get left behind by the next generation. An early exit will see him fall outside the top 75 in the world.
Alexei Popyrin v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Former finalist Jo will have an interesting battle on his hands against Alexei Popyrin.
The crowds always flock for the home players at the Australian Open and create a noise but wherever Jo goes he gets a crowd going to.
This will be a fun match. I’ve seen Popyrin a few times last year and I like his variety but it’s just pulling it all together now. For a very tall guy I think there is much more he can do on his serve and his net game which is very good will be up against a big test in one of the best at the net.
Feliciano Lopez v Roberto Bautista Agut
All Spanish battle!
Roberto is one of those in the draw who can cause a few issues. Feliciano can be a tough opening round opponent for the 9th seed.
He was simply faultless at the ATP Cup, I love watching him grind on the baseline and that is why I expect him to come through this round pretty untroubled and ready to cause trouble.
Also, it shouldn’t go unnoticed but Feliciano Lopez is now playing in his 72nd consecutive Grand Slam event which is a tennis record.
Diego Schwartzman v Lloyd Harris
Two inform players.
Lloyd Harris impressed at the ATP Cup but despite one win and two defeats there were plenty of positives from his game which he took to Adelaide.
I said before a big year for him to test himself and find some answers and also for his opponent Diego Schwartzman. Diego for me is that top 15 player who is a nuisance for the rest. He has had some of his best major results over the last 18 months and hopefully he will continue to impress.
With the conditions and the courts as they are in Australia this should suit him to cause some issues.
Novak Djokovic v Jan-Lennard Struff
Struff doesn’t have as many matches under his belt as a 29 year old would on the tour but he has taken his ranking to a high level with some good results over the last 18 months going from 70 to top 40.
He will be a tough opening round opponent for Djokovic but the Serb did see him off in the fourth round of Roland Garros last year.
Djokovic will be looking to continue his fantastic start to the season with a record 8th title down at Melbourne Park.