Hewitt opener whets appetite

Sportal Updated January 14, 2013, 5:31 am

Reigning champion Novak Djokovic will be in action on the opening day of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park, but the night match-up between Lleyton Hewitt and Janko Tipsarevic looms as the most intriguing encounter on Monday.

Djokovic will take the court against world No.60 Paul-Henri Mathieu and the tournament favourite should have few problems in moving through to the second round.

The duo have met on five occasions previously, with Djokovic triumphing in four of those matches and Mathieu's sole success way back in 2006.

While Djokovic looks certain to win his clash, the same can't be said about his fellow Serbian Tipsarevic.

Tipsarevic is a good player - he is ranked ninth in the world and has already won a title in 2013 - but Hewitt should not be underestimated and certainly not when playing on Rod Laver Arena at night.

The crowd in Melbourne always gets Hewitt pumped up and playing his best tennis, so expect the former world No.1 to stretch Tipsarevic right to the limit.

It is also worth noting that Hewitt has a positive head-to-head record against Tipsarevic - he has won three of their four outings - so the Australian will be confident of victory.

In total there are nine Australians in action on Monday and there is no doubt that world No.9 Samantha Stosur is the local hope that has the most pressure on her.

Stosur crashed out of her home Grand Slam at the first hurdle in 2012 when she lost to Romanian Sorana Cirstea in straight sets, but the 2011 US Open champion should defeat world No.86 Kai-Chen Chang.

The Australian is a class above her Chinese Taipei opponent and really should progress, unless she battles nerves and succumbs to the pressure of playing in Melbourne.

Chang did beat Stosur in three tight sets in Osaka last year in the pair's only previous match, but the Australian is expected to have too much class and experience for her 22-year-old opponent this time around.

John Millman is the only other Australian favourite on Monday, with the Queenslander expected to have too much in his repertoire for Tatsuma Ito of Japan.

Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua might fancy their chances of causing an upset against No.15 seed Dominika Cibulkova and American teenager Madison Keys respectively, but spare a thought for 25-year-old Australian Bojana Bobusic in her second ever Grand Slam tournament.

Bobusic qualified for the main draw in Melbourne when she won the wildcard playoff last month, but she faces a near impossible task against No.4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

No.2 seed Maria Sharapova, Serbian Ana Ivanovic and former world No.1 Venus Williams are other big names in action in women's singles on Monday and the trio are expected to have few problems with their respective opponents.

In men's action, fourth seed David Ferrer should crush Belgium veteran Olivier Rochus, while don't expect fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych to have everything his own way when he takes on underrated American Michael Russell on Show Court 2.

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2 Comments

  1. Wicked Wiz of the West05:07pm Monday 14th January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Ben, I think that he will win tonight but get knocked out in the latter rounds by a younger more eager and fit youngster. With any luck he will see that he's getting on and retire soon and not get the dreaded Pontingitis :-)

    Reply
  2. Richard10:59am Monday 14th January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    When you can do better then you can slang the guy off `till then shut up !

    Reply
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