The second day’s play at the Australian Open gets underway with arguably the match of the first round on either side of the draw. As she looks to recover from her slide down the rankings last year, Caroline Wozniacki would have been hoping for a more straightforward matchup to begin the year’s first major than a meeting with former Wimbledon semifinalist Sabine Lisicki.
After ending two consecutive seasons as the world No. 1, yet failing to win a maiden grand slam, Wozniacki has now fallen to No. 10 in the WTA rankings and 2013 hasn't started any more encouragingly. The Dane won just one match from her two warm-up tournaments down under and could be primed to be the first major seed to exit the Australian Open.
Lisicki has not enjoyed the greatest past 12 months either, hence her unseeded status in Melbourne. Yet, the German’s big serve and forehand is more than capable of puncturing Wozniacki’s defenses as it has done in victories for Lisicki in the pair’s past two meetings.
Over on the Rod Laver Arena first up, Andy Murray begins his quest for a second grand slam title with a first-round clash against Dutchman Robin Haase. For Murray, too, he would likely have wished for an easier start as he seeks to back up his breakthrough US Open victory last September.
Murray and Haase have split their two head-to-heads and, while Haase’s victory came back in 2008, when the pair last met at the 2011 US Open, Murray had to come back from two sets down to get the win.
But with Murray likely to be far more assured having got the monkey off his back with a first grand slam, the third seed will be expected to win comfortably.
Another title contender on the men’s side Roger Federer is also in action on Tuesday in Melbourne against 46th-ranked Benoit Paire. Federer, the second seed, won his only previous meeting with the Frenchman in two comfortable sets in Basel last year.
It might also be worth looking out for a meeting between two more Frenchman, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra. Featuring two offensive players, it should be an entertaining matchup, but seventh-seeded Tsonga should ultimately prevail.
Back on the women’s side, overwhelming favorite for the title Serena Williams will be expected to progress with few problems against Romanian Edina Gallovits-Hall. It is hard to envisage anything other than a similar scenario for No. 1 seed Victoria Azarenka as she takes on another Romanian, Monica Niculescu.
There would appear to be a real chance of an upset when Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova takes on former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone. Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion and semifinalist at the Australian Open last year, has had a poor start to the year, but on the quick surface she will still be expected to prevail.
Where to watch: Day Two’s play at the Australian Open will get underway at 7 p.m. ET on Monday. Coverage will be provided throughout the night by ESPN2. A live stream, featuring a choice of courts will be available on ESPN3.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.