Australian Open 2012 TV Schedule: Top Men's Matches to Watch on Jan. 17

Chris Siddell@@siddellcCorrespondent IIIJanuary 16, 2012

Australian Open 2012 TV Schedule: Top Men's Matches to Watch on Jan. 17

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    The Australian Open 2012 is under way.  

    These are the matches to watch starting at 7pm ET on January 16.*

    Coverage begins on the tennis channel before switching over to ESPN2 at 9pm for the night.

    The first round always features some surprises and some great tennis.  These matches are the ones you should be keeping an eye on through the night.

    *The Australian Open takes place on the far side of the international date line, which means matches on the January 17 in Australia, may actually start on the January 16 Eastern Time.

Andy Murray vs. Ryan Harrison

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    Ryan Harrison will be looking for an upset when he meets Andy Murray in the first round of the Australian Open.  The 19-year-old American will have his work cut out, but he should put up a good fight.

    Even though it seems almost certain that Murray will be the one moving into the second round, this is a great chance to see a future star.  

    Harrison seems destined to be a top player in the future, and this will be a great opportunity to see how he copes up against one of the current top players.

Nicolas Mahut vs. Radek Stepanek

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    Nicolas Mahut vs. Radek Stepanek gives us an interesting tie to keep an eye on.  Both are very experienced players who are probably more interested in the doubles side of the draw.

    Stepanek should have the upper hand. But, even though he has been ranked as low as 81, Mahut should not be written off in this match. 

    Neither has shown great form in the build up to the Australian Open, and this could be a close match that is well worth watching.

Mikhail Youzhny vs. Andrey Golubev

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    Andrey Golubev and Mikhail Youzhny both had very good seasons in 2010, but both followed with a disastrous 2011. 

    Whilst Youzhny dropped well outside of the top 10, he managed to stay in the top 50. It was Golubev who entered total free fall—a run of 18 straight defeats sent the Kazakh tumbling 100 places down the rankings.

    Both men will be desperate to put a stop the their downward spiral when they meet in the first round of the Australian Open. 

Viktor Troiki vs. Juan Carlos Ferrero

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    Viktor Troiki goes into the Australian Open as the 19th seed.  The Serbian will face a tough test in the first round, when he comes up against Juan Carlos Ferrero.

    Ferrero slipped a long way down the rankings in 2011 due to missing much of the year with injury.  The Spaniard veteran will be looking to make a big impression at the Australian Open.

    The youthful confidence of Troiki up against the experience of Ferrero will make for an interesting first-round clash.

Marcel Granollers vs. Jesse Levine

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    Jesse Levine won himself a wild card place at the Australian Open after beating Robby Ginepri in the USTA wild card play-off. 

    In the first round, he will face Marcel Granollers of Spain.  Granollers had an indifferent year in 2011 and is a player that could easily be shocked by Levine.

    Look out for an exciting match when these two meet.