Australian Open 2012: Men's Draw Underdogs Worth Watching on Jan. 19
The Australian Open continues on January 19th, and there are a few underdogs we need to look out for. These guys are the five underdogs most likely to come away with a shock result in the second round matches taking place on January 19th (starting January 18th ET).
There have been some great underdog stories at the Australian Open over the years, and this year could provide us with some real upsets.
If you love a good underdog story, then these players are definitely ones you need to be watching when they take the court.
5. Mikhail Kukushkin
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Mikhail Kukushkin will go into his second round tie with Viktor Troicki as a big underdog despite already pulling off a shock result in the first round.
The Kazakh beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez comfortably in straight sets, despite being ranked almost 30 places lower than the Spaniard.
Troicki will be a much bigger task for Kukushkin, who will need more than three sets to win this one. Still, Kukushkin proved in Brisbane he is capable of some excellent tennis, when he took a set from Andy Murray.
Troicki will need to be very careful in this one, as Kukushkin is definitely an underdog to watch.
4. Julien Benneteau
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Frenchman Julien Benneteau will be one to watch when he comes up against compatriot Giles Simon in the second round of the Australian Open.
The two Frenchmen are not worlds apart in the rankings, but Simon, who is seeded 12th, will be a comfortable favourite for this one.
But I wouldn't be putting too much money on him. Simon needed all five sets to beat Taiwanese qualifier Danai Udomchoke in his opening tie, and he will need to improve rapidly to beat his Davis Cup teammate.
Benneteau will have the fresher legs going into the match, after making much lighter work of his first round match. That could be the edge that Benneteau needs when faced with Simon.
3. Thomaz Bellucci
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Thomaz Bellucci will go up against Gael Monfils in the second round of the Australian Open.
Belucci is a solid player who slots in as one of the best players who are not going to break into the top 20. Up against Monfils, he will have a very tough day, but you never know what can happen when the Frenchman is involved.
Bellucci will put up a solid display, and should Monfils falter, he will be there to pounce and take a surprise victory.
2. Matthew Ebden
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Kei Nishikori had a breakthrough year in 2011, but he will have a tough time if he is to break his way into the second week of the Australian Open.
He will be faced with Australian Matthew Ebden in the second round on January 19th. Not an easy draw.
Ebden would be a huge underdog anywhere else in the world, but the notoriously rowdy home support in Australia will give him a major boost.
Ranked 94 in the world, Ebden is still the underdog going into this one, but the Aussies love a good underdog story. Nishikori needs to watch his back.
1. Lleyton Hewitt
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Lleyton Hewitt is the biggest underdog in the draw at the Australian Open. The former world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion finds himself barely inside the world's top 200, despite only being 30.
Hewitt is up against American, and 15th seed Andy Roddick in a match that will be far from one-sided.
Hewitt will be determined to put in a strong performance against the fading Roddick, and he will use the home crowd to his advantage.
Both men are fiery characters and this will be one match well worth watching, with underdog Hewitt in with a good change against longtime rival Roddick.