Australian Open 2013: Most Intriguing First-Round Matches in Melbourne

Austin GreenCorrespondent IJanuary 11, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 29:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning championship point in his men's final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain during day fourteen of the 2012 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 29, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Clear your schedules and prep your living room accordingly, because the first round of the 2013 Australian Open is just a few days away (Jan. 14).

The first Grand Slam of the year is always exciting, and you can expect plenty of fireworks in Melbourne yet again. Some big names will be sidelined (Rafael Nadal, John Isner), but there will still be some unforgettable action on the courts.

With the first round set to begin on Monday, let's take a look at some of the must-see opening matches.


Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu

Djokovic is the two-time defending champ at the Australian Open, so it will be interesting to see how he begins the tournament. Does he crush Mathieu, who is ranked 58th in the world? Or does he come out complacent and struggle a little bit?

Although Djokovic has a huge edge in talent, he won't want to take any chances with Mathieu. Mathieu has beaten Djokovic once before, and he has won 40 career Grand Slam matches.

It would be a miracle if he added to that total in Melbourne, but he could steal a few games from Djoker. Either way, all eyes will be Djokovic has he looks for the three-peat.


Marcos Baghdatis (28) vs. Albert Ramos

Remember Marcos Baghdatis' complete meltdown at last year's Australian Open? Of course you do. It was amazing. The guy completely lost control, and I personally can't wait to see what he does in his return to Melbourne.

He is also facing an interesting opponent. The 25-year-old Ramos improved his end-of-year ranking for the eighth consecutive season, and he enters the tournament at No. 51 in the world. He also scored some high-profile victories last year, defeating No. 15 Feliciano Lopez and No. 16 Richard Gasquet. 

If Ramos jumps out to an early lead, there's no telling what Baghdatis will do.


Caroline Wozniacki (10) vs. Sabine Lisicki

Wozniacki is one of the most well-known female tennis players in the world, but she will have her hands full with the 23-year-old Lisicki.

Lisicki has won three of their four career matches, and she has had success in Melbourne before. At last year's Australian Open, Lisicki made it to the fourth round before losing to Maria Sharapova 6-2, 2-6, 3-6.

Wozniacki is the more talented player, but she struggled throughout 2012. If she doesn't bring her A-game, she could be the first Top 10 seed to bow out of the tournament.