Australian Open 2013: Stars Who Need to Watch out for an Upset in Opening Rounds

Stephen Sheehan@@StephenPSheehanCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2013

Could an early exit be in the cards for Roger Federer?
Could an early exit be in the cards for Roger Federer?Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

As the opening rounds of the 2013 Australian Open continue, the spotlight falls on several stars who could be vulnerable to an upset. 

While stalwarts Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Serena Williams appear locked and loaded, a few other high-profile names need to be on upset alert. 


Roger Federer (2) vs. Nikolay Davydenko

Beginning in the men's bracket, the legendary Roger Federer could be in for an early exit in the second round. 

The owner of four Australian Open titles is the No. 2 seed and is no doubt one of the best servers in the game. However, the Swiss sensation drew a tough opponent in Nikolay Davydenko. The 31-year-old Russian brings a wealth of experience (458 career wins) and checks in at No. 40 in the world rankings. 

Although Davydenko has been knocked out in the first round of this tournament the last two years, he did reach the quarterfinals in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010. 

In fact, it was Federer who ended Davydenko's dream in 2010, as the former world No. 1 staged a furious comeback over the Russian to advance to the semifinals. Federer beat Benoit Paire in three sets in the first round, but don't expect Davydenko to go down without a fight. 

With so much history between these two veterans, this promises to be a fantastic second-round matchup. 


Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (7) vs. Go Soeda

Seventh-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is no stranger to success at the Australian Open, but the 6'2" Frenchman hasn't been able to seal the deal in six tries at the tournament.

Tsonga lost to Djokovic in the finals back in 2008 before making it to the quarterfinals the following year and the semis in 2010. After a fourth-round exit last year, Tsonga—who checks in as the No. 8 player in the world—will try to get over the hump this time around. 

His second-round opponent, Go Soeda, could put a damper on those aspirations.

The 5'10" Japanese native may not have Tsonga's size, but he brings great speed to the table. 

After spending most of his career outside the top 100, Soeda finally broke through in 2012, moving all the way up to No. 47 back in July. The 28-year-old notched three tournament wins, including the Honolulu Challenger. 

With Soeda playing the best tennis of his career and in need of a signature win, taking down Tsonga would be a great step in his development. 


Petra Kvitova (8) vs. Laura Robson 

She may be just 18 years old, but Laura Robson is a force to be reckoned with. 

The British rising star is regarded as one of the sport's next great players, and she has the resume to back it up. 

At the 2012 US Open, Robson sent all-time great Kim Clijsters into retirement in the second round before taking down Li Na in the third. Along with winning a silver medal in mixed doubles at the Olympics, Robson was named the WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2012. 

Her impressive development spells trouble for Petra Kvitova, who according to Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian has been struggling with her asthma in the intense tournament heat. 

With Kvitova battling the conditions and her own medical issues, the door is open for Robson—who trained relentlessly in the Miami heat last year—to take down the tournament's No. 8 seed. 

An upset win over Kvitova would further cement Robson as one of the better up-and-coming superstars in tennis.