2012 Australian Open Qualifiers: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal Learn Opponents
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At the 2012 Australian Open, the 128-player qualifying tournament has narrowed down to sixteen entrants for the main draw. Qualifiers can be dangerous at times; however, in the list below, there are only two players who have ever made it to the third round in any Grand Slam event.
Here are the qualifiers for the 2012 main draw at Melbourne Park with some odds and ends for each player.
Serra will turn 31 years old next month, and his current ranking is 157th in the world. This will be his eighth Australian Open main draw; his best result came in 2010 when he made the third round.
First round opponent: Steve Darcis
The 22-year-old German, ranked 248th in the words, makes his Grand Slam debut. He looks on form as he cruised through three qualifying matches, all in straight sets, and only lost nine games total.
This is a player that could pull off an upset in the first round if he continues to play with confidence.
First round opponent: Donald Young
Will ANY qualifier make the fourth round at this year's Australian Open?
Udomchoke is back in the main draw of the Australian Open for the first time in five years. Back in 2007 he made the third round at Melbourne Park, his best Grand Slam performance to date. Now 30 years old, it might be too late for the Thai to make any kind of significant mark on the game.
He hasn't received any kind of luck in the main draw as he will face a talented player right in the first round.
First round opponent: Gilles Simon
Many people are waiting for Kazahkstan's Golubev to make a dent in a Grand Slam draw. He's been ranked as high as 33rd on tour, but so far he has only won three matches in all of his Grand Slam singles events combined.
Golubev is making his 14th straight appearance in the main draw of a major but it's still hard to picture him doing much damage at Melbourne Park, currently ranked 146th in the world.
First round opponent: Mikhail Youzhny
James Ward is in his first Australian Open, about a month shy of his 25th birthday. The Brit has yet to win a match in any Grand Slam draw and has only appeared in two previous majors, both at the All England Club.
First round opponent: Blaz Kavcic
Jesse Huta Galung
Jesse Huta Galung will be making his Australian Open debut this season at Melbourne Park. The Dutch player is ranked just 233rd on tour and has never won a first round match in any Grand Slam. At 26 years old, he has a moderate chance of making it to the second round, since he has drawn a player who struggles in five-set matches.
First round opponent: Carlos Berlocq
Lukas Lacko is in his fifth Melbourne Park main draw, having only ever won a single match in his former attempts. Ranked 118th in the world at the moment, Lacko is still just 24 years old and has some time on his side if he wants to make another charge toward the Top 50.
He might be one of the more talented qualifiers at this year's Australian Open. However, he'll be in for a battle from the first round, playing a seeded veteran who has shown some resilience on tour despite his age.
First round opponent: Ivan Ljubicic
Denis Kudla is in his first Australian Open main draw having only made one previous Grand Slam tournament (2011 US Open). Kudla, a 19-year-old American, is ranked 276th in the world, a ranking that promises to shoot upward soon just due to the points he will receive from qualifying.
Will Denis Kudla make it through the first round?
Kudla beat Somdev Devvarman, Ivo Karlovic, and Grigor Dimitrov in 2011. The American could win his first round match in Melbourne, one that might have the biggest age gap between opponents of the preliminaries.
First round opponent: Tommy Haas
Jurgen Zopp is a 23-year-old Estonian making his Grand Slam debut on tour. Currently ranked 148th, Zopp has to be happy with his first round match-up at Melbourne Park, as he will face an inexperienced player as well.
First round opponent: James Duckworth
Matteo Viola, a 24-year-old Italian, makes his Grand Slam debut at the 2012 Australian Open. Currently ranked 155th in the world, Viola has matched his career high ranking and may reach new heights in 2012.
He shouldn't get too far in Melbourne because he's near Novak Djokovic in the draw. Viola may have his hands full right in the first round, facing a much more experienced player who has made the second round at the Australian Open in each of the last two years.
First round opponent: Santiago Giraldo
Alex Kudryavtsev is back into the main draw of a Grand Slam after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus. The Russian debuted in majors back at Wimbledon 2008; however, 2012 will mark his first Australian Open main draw.
Currently ranked 172nd in the world, Kudryavtsev does not have much potential to get even a glimpse of the second round, as his first round opponent is the four-time Australian Open champion Federer.
First round opponent: Roger Federer
Roberto Bautista-Agut is another player making his Grand Slam debut at the 2012 Australian Open. The 23-year-old Spaniard is ranked 175th in the world heading into Melbourne Park.
First round opponent: Ricardo Mello
Denmark's Frederik Nielsen will be making his Grand Slam debut at the ripe old age of 28. Currently ranked 240th in the world, the Dane eliminated two players who were seeded in the qualifying tournament, Rajeev Ram and Simone Bolelli.
First round opponent: Kevin Anderson
Before reading this article, had you heard of Roberto Bautista-Agut?
American Alex Kuznetsov, now almost 25, has not seen any main draw action in a Grand Slam since the 2007 US Open. He has won a match in the Australian Open main draw before, when he made the second round at Melbourne Park five years ago. It would take a shocking upset for Kuznetsov to see the second round this season: he's facing a 10-time Grand Slam champion in his return to big stage competition.
First round opponent: Rafael Nadal
Though the German Bjorn Phau is 32 years old, he isn't slowing down just yet, going into his eighth main draw at Melbourne Park. He has advanced to the second round of the Australian Open twice, but not since 2006.
In his last nine appearances in Grand Slam main draws, Phau is 0-9 in first round matches—a stat that should be encouraging to the in-form player who has drawn him first.
First round opponent: Olivier Rochus
Ilya Marchenko is one of the more talented qualifiers in this year's Australian Open. Marchenko is currently ranked 246th, a ranking that should improve over the course of 2012.
The 24-year-old Ukrainian has made the second round at Melbourne Park for two years running. If he is to make that far again, he'll have to best a fellow countryman.
First round opponent: Sergiy Stakhovsky
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