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
Live Stream: ESPN3
|Matchup||Court||Court Start Time (Local)||Match #|
|Angelique Kerber (GER)  vs. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)||ROD LAVER ARENA||11 a.m.||1|
|Alejandro Gonzalez (COL) vs. David Ferrer (ESP) ||ROD LAVER ARENA||11 a.m.||2|
|Samantha Stosur (AUS)  vs. Klara Zakopalova (CZE)||ROD LAVER ARENA||11 a.m.||3|
|Lukas Lacko (SVK) vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB) ||ROD LAVER ARENA||7 p.m.||1|
|Serena Williams (USA)  vs. Ashleigh Barty (AUS)||ROD LAVER ARENA||7 p.m.||2|
|Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)  vs. Andrey Golubev (KAZ)||HISENSE ARENA||11 a.m.||1|
|Na Li (CHN)  vs. Ana Konjuh (CRO)||HISENSE ARENA||11 a.m.||2|
|Kiki Bertens (NED) vs. Ana Ivanovic (SRB) ||HISENSE ARENA||11 a.m.||3|
|Jordan Thompson (AUS) vs. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) ||HISENSE ARENA||11 a.m.||4|
|Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) vs. Venus Williams (USA)||MARGARET COURT ARENA||11 a.m.||1|
|Tomas Berdych (CZE)  vs. Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)||MARGARET COURT ARENA||11 a.m.||2|
|Julia Goerges (GER) vs. Sara Errani (ITA) ||MARGARET COURT ARENA||11 a.m.||3|
|Luksika Kumkhum (THA) vs. Petra Kvitova (CZE) ||MARGARET COURT ARENA||11 a.m.||4|
|Laura Robson (GBR) vs. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) ||Show Court 3||11 a.m.||1|
|Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs. Tommy Haas (GER) ||Show Court 3||11 a.m.||4|
|Juan Monaco (ARG) vs. Ernests Gulbis (LAT) ||Court 6||11 a.m.||2|
|Fabio Fognini (ITA)  vs. Alex Bogomolov Jr. (RUS)||Court 7||11 a.m.||2|
|Santiago Giraldo (COL) vs. Sam Querrey (USA)||Court 8||11 a.m.||1|
|Tommy Robredo (ESP)  vs. Lukas Rosol (CZE)||Court 13||11 a.m.||4|
|Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)  vs. Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)||Court 20||11 a.m.||1|
|Jeremy Chardy (FRA)  vs. Jesse Huta Galung (NED)||Court 22||11 a.m.||3|
Top Matches to Watch
No. 17 Tommy Robredo vs. Lukas Rosol
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
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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