Australian Open Schedule 2014: Day 1 Matchups, Predictions and Analysis

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2014

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 04: Serena Williams of the USA celebrates victory after winning her finals match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during day seven of the 2014 Brisbane International at Queensland Tennis Centre on January 4, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

After a short offseason, Grand Slam tennis is back with the start of the Australian Open.

The first major tournament of the year features plenty of storylines on both sides of the draw. Rafael Nadal will try to live up to his No. 1 seeding, while Novak Djokovic will attempt to win this tournament for the fourth year in a row. 

Meanwhile, Serena Williams has won four out of the last six Grand Slams and will hope to keep the momentum against a deep women's field.

Still, each of these competitors has to start in the first round, which always tends to provide surprises. To make sure you catch all of the action, here is a guide for the opening day of matches at the Australian Open. 

 

Where: Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

When (local): Monday, Jan. 13 at 11 a.m.

When (U.S.): Sunday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN2

Live Stream: ESPN3

Draws: Men's, Women's

Full List of Day 1 Matches

Notable Matches
MatchupCourtCourt Start Time (Local)Match #
Angelique Kerber (GER) [9] vs. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)ROD LAVER ARENA11 a.m.1
Alejandro Gonzalez (COL) vs. David Ferrer (ESP) [3]ROD LAVER ARENA11 a.m.2
Samantha Stosur (AUS) [17] vs. Klara Zakopalova (CZE)ROD LAVER ARENA11 a.m.3
Lukas Lacko (SVK) vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB) [2]ROD LAVER ARENA7 p.m.1
Serena Williams (USA) [1] vs. Ashleigh Barty (AUS)ROD LAVER ARENA7 p.m.2
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) [8] vs. Andrey Golubev (KAZ)HISENSE ARENA11 a.m.1
Na Li (CHN) [4] vs. Ana Konjuh (CRO)HISENSE ARENA11 a.m.2
Kiki Bertens (NED) vs. Ana Ivanovic (SRB) [14]HISENSE ARENA11 a.m.3
Jordan Thompson (AUS) vs. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) [20]HISENSE ARENA11 a.m.4
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)[22] vs. Venus Williams (USA)MARGARET COURT ARENA11 a.m.1
Tomas Berdych (CZE) [7] vs. Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)MARGARET COURT ARENA11 a.m.2
Julia Goerges (GER) vs. Sara Errani (ITA) [7]MARGARET COURT ARENA11 a.m.3
Luksika Kumkhum (THA) vs. Petra Kvitova (CZE) [6]MARGARET COURT ARENA11 a.m.4
Laura Robson (GBR) vs. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) [18]Show Court 311 a.m.1
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs. Tommy Haas (GER) [12]Show Court 311 a.m.4
Juan Monaco (ARG) vs. Ernests Gulbis (LAT) [23]Court 611 a.m.2
Fabio Fognini (ITA) [15] vs. Alex Bogomolov Jr. (RUS)Court 711 a.m.2
Santiago Giraldo (COL) vs. Sam Querrey (USA)Court 811 a.m.1
Tommy Robredo (ESP) [17] vs. Lukas Rosol (CZE)Court 1311 a.m.4
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) [14] vs. Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)Court 2011 a.m.1
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) [29] vs. Jesse Huta Galung (NED)Court 2211 a.m.3
via Ausopen.com

 

Top Matches to Watch

No. 17 Tommy Robredo vs. Lukas Rosol

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 04:  Tommy Robredo of Spain returns a shot to Rafael Nadal of Spain during their men's singles quarter final match on Day Ten of the 2013 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 4, 2013 in the Flushing
Elsa/Getty Images

There are a few seeded players who will have a tough challenge right away in the first round (including No. 1 Rafael Nadal against Bernard Tomic), but one to watch on Day 1 is Tommy Robredo against Lukas Rosol.

Robredo bounced back from an injury-filled 2012 with a strong year in 2013 that featured two tournament titles and deep runs at the U.S. Open and Roland Garros. However, he also just turned 31 years old and might struggle in his first official matches of the year.

Meanwhile, Rosol has a strong serve and enough power to force Robredo to move quickly in this opening match. Eventually, he could wear down his opponent and win a long, competitive match.

Despite Robredo's talents, he has shown enough inconsistency to believe he can be knocked out of a Grand Slam early.

Prediction: Rosol wins 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2

 

Laura Robson vs. No. 18 Kirsten Flipkens

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 30:  Laura Robson of Great Britain returns a backhand during her women's singles third round match against Na Li of China on Day Five of the 2013 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2013 in the Flush
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Although early-round upsets are much more common on the women's side, it is often tough to predict which unseeded players will make a deep run. One competitor who has a strong chance to go far is Laura Robson.

The 19-year-old reached the third round of the Australian Open a year ago and continues to improve as she matures physically. She has shown an impressive all-around game while climbing to the top spot in the United Kingdom.

Of course, Kirsten Flipkens has plenty of talent as well and the experience that allowed her to climb into the Top 20 in the world. She had the best season of her career in 2013 while reaching her first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon.

Still, the Belgian has been eliminated in the first round in three of her last five appearances in Melbourne. This could be a fourth loss in the opening round if Robson pulls off the upset.

Prediction: Robson wins 6-4, 7-6(5)

 

Lukas Lacko vs. No. 2 Novak Djokovic

Sometimes it is not just close matchups that are entertaining. In many cases, fans simply want to see one of the best players in the world show what makes him so great.

Novak Djokovic is comfortable at Melbourne after winning the last three titles. Amazingly, he could be even better this time around with Boris Becker as his coach. According to Linda Pearce of the Sydney Morning Herald, the former star explained:

He's not happy with six grand slams, even though that's an incredible record. He wants to win more and he's having a good team around him that tries to make him better.

I was honoured that a player like Djokovic would call me for help, to be part of his coaching team, and we've had a wonderful couple of weeks already, and I'm going to do the best I can to make him even better.

Lukas Lacko has little chance of making this a match, but it could still be fun to watch Djokovic at his best. Look for the defending champion to work on some things as he cruises to a straight-sets victory.

Prediction: Djokovic wins 6-3, 6-1, 6-2

 

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