Australian Open Draw 2013: Breaking Down the Best First-Round Matches
The Australian Open is going to be a must-watch event from start to finish.
With the superstars spread out across the massive field, the first few rounds of this major tournament aren't always filled with much intrigue.
But as the draw was unveiled on Friday, it became apparent that even the opening days would provide some captivating battles.
Let's take a look at the best ones.
Caroline Wozniacki vs. Sabine Lisicki
The 22-year-old Wozniacki is a former world No. 1 and has made it to at least the quarterfinals in Australia the past two years, but she wasn't handed any favors with her first-round matchup in 2013.
Wozniacki will have to face No. 37 Sabine Lisicki.
Not only did the 23-year-old make it to the fourth round last year, but she has beaten Wozniacki two out of the three times they have played.
Of course, the only time they played on a hard surface was back in 2008 at the Australian Open, where the Dane knocked off Lisicki in three entertaining sets.
How would you grade your excitement level for this match? ("A" being I CAN'T WAIT!!! and "F" being meh)
Alexandr Dolgopolov vs. Gael Monfils
Dolgopolov and Monfils have never faced each other, and on paper, they don't necessarily make for all that interesting of a matchup.
But watching Dolgopolov and his unorthodox, aggressive, powerful style go up against Monfils and his defensive, consistent, athletic style should be incredibly fun to watch.
Moreover, both youngsters will have expectations to get past the first round.
Dolgopolov made it to the quarters here in 2011 and to the third round last year while Monfils also made it to the third round last year and will be coming off a solid showing in Auckland.
Something has to give.
Petra Kvitova vs. Francesca Schiavone
There are only so many Grand Slam winners in this world, and anytime you can match up two of them in the first round of a major tournament, you take it.
Much like Dolgopolov vs. Monfils, there is also a contrast of styles here.
Kvitova, who won Wimbledon in 2011, is a young 22-year-old lefty. She has a lot of power behind her two-handed backhand and after making it to the quarters in three of the four majors last year, she clearly has a bright future.
Schiavone, meanwhile, is an aging, scrappy, 32-year-old righty. She won the French Open in 2010, but is clearly nowhere near as dominant on hardcourt as she is on clay, as she was ousted in the second round of Australia last year
Kvitova, who knocked off the Italian three times last year, clearly holds the advantage, but this is certainly a battle to keep your eye on.
Andy Murray vs. Robin Haase
I don't expect Murray, who has been playing the best tennis of his career over the past six months, to have many problems in this one, but it is worth paying attention to.
At the 2011 US Open, Haase won the first two sets against the Brit before dropping the next three and losing a five-set thriller. Their only other match was in 2008, which Haase won.
Again, Murray should roll, but if there is going to be a historical, I-can't-believe-what-I-just-saw, first-round upset, this would be it.
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