I predict sixth-seed Tomas Berdych will bow out in the second round, while 27th seed David Nalbandian and 28th seed Richard Gasquet will reach the quarterfinals, but who do I have going all the way? Read my 127 match predictions and find out.
Rafael Nadal (1) def. Marcos Daniel
Nadal begins his quest for the "Rafa Slam" against a guy he has defeated twice in straight sets over the past two years.
Ryan Sweeting def. Daniel Gimeno-Traver
The qualifier should get the best of Gimeno-Traver, who is 0-2 at the Australian Open.
Bernard Tomic def. Jeremy Chardy
Tomic has never lost in the first round at his home country's Grand Slam, winning a match each of the past two years.
Feliciano Lopez (31) def. Alejandro Falla
Falla's best finish at a major came at last year's Aussie Open, when he reached the third round. Lopez has made the Round of 32 here four times, including in 2010, and he's coming off a fourth-round finish at the U.S. Open.
John Isner (20) def. Florent Serra
Isner beat Serra in straight sets on the hard courts of San Jose three years ago.
Stepanek has alternated third and first-round finishes over the past four years, and he's due to reach the Round of 32 in 2011.
Santiago Giraldo def. Rui Machado
Machado has never played this event, while Giraldo's only victory in a major came at last year's Australian.
Marin Cilic (15) def. Donald Young
Cilic reached the semi-finals here in 2010.
Mikhail Youzhny (10) def. Marsel Ilhan
Youzhny ousted Ilhan in straight sets from last year's hard court tournament in Rotterdam.
Blaz Kavcic def. Kevin Anderson
Anderson is 0-3 here, so the edge has to go to the qualifier.
Milos Raonic def. Bjorn Phau
Phau is 0-7 at majors over the past four years.
Juan Ignacio Chela def. Michael Llodra (22)
Chela hasn't dropped a set to Llodra in their two career meetings, and while those matches came back in 2002 and '05, Llodra's 2-9 record at the Australian Open means the edge goes to Chela.
David Nalbandian (27) def. Lleyton Hewitt
In one of the most-anticipated first-round matches of the tournament, Hewitt owns a 3-2 lifetime advantage. But Nalbandian has won the past two meetings in straight sets, including a victory on the hard courts of Sydney in 2009. The Argentine has never lost his first match here and is coming off a strong performance in Auckland.
Richard Berankis def. Marinko Matosevic
Berankis won his debut matches at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, and he should be able to continue the trend Down Under.
Matthew Ebden def. Michael Russell
Ebden made it through qualifiers at the Brisbane tune-up before defeating Denis Istomin on his way to the quarterfinals, where he lost to eventual champion Robin Soderling. Russell, meanwhile, is 1-11 at hard court majors.
David Ferrer (7) def. Jarkko Nieminen
Ferrer drew a difficult first-round opponent, but his strong play at Auckland suggests the Spaniard should be able to move on.
Robin Soderling (4) def. Potito Starace
Starace outlasted Soderling in three sets on the clay of Barcelona two years ago, but Soderling is the better player on hard courts, noted by his win in Brisbane earlier this month and Starace's 12 consecutive losses at hard-court majors.
Gilles Muller def. Simon Stadler
The edge goes to Muller in this battle of qualifiers because he reached the third round here two years ago.
Denis Istomin def. Jan Hernych
Istomin reached the third round here last year.
Thomaz Bellucci (30) def. Ricardo Mello
These Brazilians split a pair of meetings last year, with Bellucci winning in straight sets at the first round of Wimbledon. He's usually good for one win at a Grand Slam, while Mello hasn't played the Australian in five years.
Ernests Gulbis (24) def. Benjamin Becker
Gulbis crushed Becker, 6-2, 6-4, in a Futures event five years ago, and the Latvian will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing Grand Slam season in 2010.
Alexandr Dolgopolov def. Mikhail Kukushkin
In a battle of two of the best last names in the field, Dolgopolov holds the advantage. They have never met in a Tour event, but the Ukrainian is 3-1 in qualifiers, challengers and futures, including a pair of wins last year.
Andreas Seppi def. Arnaud Clement
Seppi is 3-0 against Clement, including a straight-sets win on the hard courts of Marseille last year.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (13) def. Philipp Petzschner
Petzschner is 0-2 at the Australian Open, while Tsonga has reached the quarters the past three years.
Jurgen Melzer (11) def. Vincent Millot
Melzer lost in the first round at last year's Australian, but then reached at least the Round of 16 at the next three majors, so he should be able to get past the qualifier.
Carsten Ball def. Pere Riba
Neither of these players has won a match here, but at least Ball has won a hard-court match in his career, while Riba is 0-4 on the surface.
Juan Martin Del Potro def. Dudi Sela
This is one of the more intriguing first-round matches that does not involve a seeded player. Del Potro reached the fourth round here last year, but then played only two more matches in 2010 due to a wrist injury. He appears healthier now and has won the last two meetings with Sela - both on hard courts.
The 2006 runner-up has never dropped a first-round match at this event.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (32) def. Michael Berrer
This is one of the biggest toss-ups of the first round, with these two splitting a pair of hard-court matches last year. Since this contest figures to go to five sets, the edge has to go to Garcia-Lopez, who is 2-3 in those situations, while Berrer is 0-3.
Leonardo Mayer def. Eduardo Schwank
Neither has won here, but Mayer defeated Schwank rather easily at Eastbourne in their only meeting two years ago.
Illya Marchenko def. Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo
Marchenko reached the second round in his debut here last year, while Ramirez Hidalgo has lost in the first round in 12 of the 13 majors he's played.
Andy Murray (5) def. Karol Beck
Murray was a finalist last year, while Beck hasn't played here since 2005.
Tomas Berdych (6) def. Marco Crugnola
Berdych hasn't lost in the first round of the Aussie Open in six years.
Philipp Kohlschreiber def. Tobias Kamke
Kohlschreiber defeated Kamke in both of their hard-court meetings last year, including the first round of the U.S. Open.
Adrian Mannarino def. Ryan Harrison
Mannarino is 5-8 in his career on hard courts, while Harrison is just 2-8.
Richard Gasquet (28) def. Frank Dancevic
Gasquet lost in the first round here last year, but he reached at least the Round of 32 the three years prior.
Nikolay Davydenko (23) def. Florian Mayer
Davydenko is 3-1 in his career against Mayer, including a 6-3, 6-4 victory at the hard courts of Beijing last year.
Kei Nishikori def. Fabio Fognini
Nishikori scored a big win over Cilic in Chennai this month, while Fognini didn't put up much of a fight against Davydenko at Doha.
Janko Tipsarevic def. Mischa Zverev
These two have met twice in their lives on hard courts, with Tipsarevic prevailing both times.
Fernando Verdasco (9) def. Rainer Schuettler
Verdasco is 2-0 against Schuettler, with both matches coming on hard courts in 2008.
Nicolas Almagro (14) def. Stephane Robert
After losing his first four matches here, Almagro has reached the third and fourth rounds in the past two years.
Igor Andreev def. Filippo Volandri
Andreev is 2-1 versus Volandri and while all three of those matches have come on clay, the Russian has the better resume at the Australian.
Flavio Cipolla def. Benoit Paire
The luckiest qualifier in the field drew the No. 148 player in the world, who has never played here.
Ivan Ljubicic (17) def. Peter Luczak
Ljubicic has won three matches at this event since Luczak was last victorious at the Aussie Open.
Viktor Troicki (29) def. Dmitry Tursunov
Troicki is 2-0 on hard courts against Tursunov, including a win last year in Moscow.
Brian Dabul def. Nicolas Mahut
Dabul has only played this event once, but he reached the second round.
Ivo Karlovic def. Ivan Dodig
While Dodig reached the second round of each major he played last year, Karlovic has shown more consistency at the Australian, reaching the fourth round in 2010.
Novak Djokovic (3) def. Marcel Granollers
Djokovic has won his last 19 first-round matches at Grand Slams.
Andy Roddick (8) def. Jan Hajek
The four-time semi-finalist should have no problem with Hajek.
Igor Kunitsyn def. Michal Przysiezny
Kunitsyn is the better hard-court player and he reached the second round here last year, while Przysiezny is making his debut at this event.
Robin Haase def. Carlos Berlocq
Berlocq is 0-4 at hard-court majors. Haase isn't much better, but he did reach the second round here in 2008 and took a set from Stanislas Wawrinka at Chennai earlier this month.
Julien Benneteau def. Juan Monaco (26)
Monaco has lost in the first round here every other year since 2005, so he's due for another early exit, and Benneteau could be the guy to hand it to him because the Frenchman has played well at his last three hard-court majors.
Stanislas Wawrinka (19) def. Teymuraz Gabashvili
Wawrinka is 2-0 lifetime against Gabashvili and the 19 seed just won the Chennai tune-up.
Andrey Golubev def. Grigor Dimitrov
Golubev reached the second round here last year, so he should be able to get past the qualifier.
Pablo Cuevas def. Frederico Gil
Cuevas beat Gil in both of their meetings last year, including a straight-set victory on the hard courts of Indian Wells.
Gael Monfils (12) def. Thiemo de Bakker
Monfils is 2-1 versus de Bakker, winning the last two meetings which both took place on hard courts last year.
Mardy Fish (16) def. Victor Hanescu
Hanescu isn't the easiest first-round matchup for Fish, but the 2007 quarterfinalist should move on.
Tommy Robredo def. Somdev Devvarman
Robredo had a rough 2010, but the 2007 quarter-finalist should get past the Aussie Open rookie.
Sergiy Stakhovsky def. Daniel Brands
Neither of these men have won here, but Stakhovsky holds a 2-0 advantage over Brands in head-to-head meetings - both coming in non-Tour events in 2008.
Lukasz Kubot def. Sam Querrey (18)
Kubot reached the fourth round in his 2010 debut here, while Querrey has bowed out in his opening match the past two years.
Albert Montanes (25) def. Dustin Brown
Montanes finally broke through at both hard-court majors last year, while Brown is still just getting started.
Xavier Malisse def. Pablo Andujar
These two split a pair of matches in 2009, with each ending in a first-set retirement. The edge goes to Malisse, who has more experience at this event.
Gilles Simon def. Yen-Hsun Lu
In their only meeting, Simon beat Lu on the hard courts of Indian Wells in 2009.
Roger Federer (2) def. Lukas Lacko
Federer is coming off a title at Doha.
Rafael Nadal (1) def. Ryan Sweeting
Nadal hasn't lost before the fourth round of a major since Wimbledon 2005.
Feliciano Lopez (31) def. Bernard Tomic
Lopez should reach the third round for the fifth time here.
Radek Stepanek def. John Isner (20)
After a less-than-stellar 2010, Stepanek began the new year by defeating Mardy Fish and Florian Mayer to reach the semis at Brisbane, where he lost in two tight sets to Soderling. Stepanek also defeated Isner rather easily in their only career meeting back in ’08.
Marin Cilic (15) def. Santiago Giraldo
Cilic defeated Giraldo in straight sets at Chennai last year.
Mikhail Youzhny (10) def. Blaz Kavcic
Youzhny reached the third round here last year.
Milos Raonic def. Juan Ignacio Chela
Chela hasn’t reached the third round of a major in four years.
David Nalbandian (27) def. Richard Berankis
Nalbandian has as many career titles as Berankis has wins.
David Ferrer (7) def. Matthew Ebden
Ferrer has won nine career titles. Ebden has played in six career matches.
Robin Soderling (4) def. Gilles Muller
Soderling has never had much success here, but he didn’t have a history of success at the French Open before making back-to-back finals the past two years and he didn’t have a history of success at the U.S. Open before making consecutive quarterfinals the past two years.
Thomaz Bellucci (30) def. Denis Istomin
Both of these guys are on the rise, but while Istomin is the better hard-court player, he is just 2-6 against lefties and Bellucci is a southpaw.
Ernests Gulbis (24) def. Alexandr Dolgopolov
Gulbis has more experience at the Aussie Open than Dolgopolov who is playing for the first time here.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (13) def. Andreas Seppi
Seppi defeated Tsonga in three sets at Sydney three years ago, but that was when the Italian was at the top of his game. Tsonga is already off to a strong start this season with a semi-final finish at Doha and has reached the quarters at the Australian Open the past three years.
Jurgen Melzer (11) def. Carsten Ball
Ball’s next win here would be his first, while Melzer has reached the third round three times.
Marcos Baghdatis (21) def. Juan Martin Del Potro
This should be one of the better second-round matchups. Del Potro defeated Baghdatis in three sets in their only career meeting on the hard courts of Miami back in 2007, but the Argentine is still working his way back from injury and Baghdatis always seems to play well in Australia.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (32) def. Leonardo Mayer
Garcia-Lopez downed Mayer in straight sets on the hard courts of Johannesburg in 2009.
Andy Murray (5) def. Illya Marchenko
Marchenko has never reached the third round of a major, while Murray has done nothing but that over the last 10 Grand Slam events.
Philipp Kohlschreiber def. Tomas Berdych (6)
Berdych won his first five meetings with Kohlschreiber, but those came between 2003 and ’07. The German won the most recent match on the hard courts of Montreal two years ago, but it took three tight sets so expect another close battle here ending with Berdych’s second straight second-round exit at the Aussie Open.
Richard Gasquet (28) def. Adrian Mannarino
Mannarino has never reached the third round of a major, but Gasquet has been there three of the past four years at the Aussie Open alone.
Nikolay Davydenko (23) def. Kei Nishikori
Davydenko hasn’t lost before the fourth round here since 2004.
Fernando Verdasco (9) def. Janko Tipsarevic
This is a rematch of a second-round match at the 2008 Australian Open. Tipsarevic won that contest in three tight sets and won another hard-court meeting later that year in Miami, but that was before Verdasco rose to top 10 in the world. Over the past three years, Verdasco has reached his first three Grand Slam quarters and defeated Tipsarevic in straight sets two years ago.
Igor Andreev def. Nicolas Almagro (14)
Andreev has won the past three meetings with Almagro, including a straight-set victory at the 2006 Australian Open. These two guys have gone in opposite directions since then, but Andreev seems to have the Spaniard’s number.
Ivan Ljubicic (17) def. Flavio Cipolla
Ljubicic reached the third round last year and should get back there again.
Viktor Troicki (29) def. Brian Dabul
Troicki beat Dabul in straight sets at Wimbledon 2009.
Novak Djokovic (3) def. Ivo Karlovic
These two split a pair of matches in 2008, but Karlovic’s win came on hard courts. Still, that victory involved two tiebreakers, the Croat is coming back from a foot injury and it’s hard to imagine Djokovic losing in the second round when he’s made six straight major quarters.
Andy Roddick (8) def. Igor Kunitsyn
Roddick is 2-0 against Kunitsyn, with both matches coming in the past two years.
Julien Benneteau def. Robin Haase
Benneteau beat Haase in their only meeting back in 2007 and the Frenchman has reached the third round of a major six times, while Haase has never sniffed the Round of 32.
Stanislas Wawrinka (19) def. Andrey Golubev
Wawrinka downed Golubev in straight sets on the hard courts of Montreal in 2009.
Gael Monfils (12) def. Pablo Cuevas
Monfils ousted Cuevas in straight sets in the first round of the 2008 U.S. Open.
Tommy Robredo def. Mardy Fish (16)
Robredo has won four of his last five meetings with Fish, including a dominating effort in the second round of the 2008 Australian Open.
Lukasz Kubot def. Sergiy Stakhovsky
Kubot just beat Stakhovsky in straight sets at Doha.
Xavier Malisse def. Albert Montanes (25)
Malisse won the only meeting between these two, but that came way back at the 2002 U.S. Open, so it doesn’t hold much weight now. What does is that the Belgian just reached the finals at Chennai.
Roger Federer (2) def. Gilles Simon
This is not a great second-round matchup for Federer. Simon, who reached the quarters here two years ago, is 2-0 against the world’s No. 2 player, with both matches coming on hard courts in 2008. The good news for Federer is that Simon is not the player he was three years ago – although he looked pretty good at the Sydney tune-up - and Federer is a completely different player in Grand Slams. He hasn’t missed the third round at a major since ’03, and the four-time and defending Australian Open champ is 11-0 in the second round at this event.
Rafael Nadal (1) def. Feliciano Lopez (31)
Nadal has won six of his last seven meetings with Lopez and hasn’t dropped a set in their three hard-court matches, including in the Round of 16 at the U.S. Open last year.
Radek Stepanek def. Marin Cilic (15)
Stepanek is 2-1 against Cilic and won their only hard-court meeting, which came two years ago in the quarters of Basel.
Mikhail Youzhny (10) def. Milos Raonic
Youzhny’s semi-final finish at last year’s U.S. Open should provide enough momentum for at least a fourth-round appearance here.
David Nalbandian (27) def. David Ferrer (7)
Nalbandian has won the last three meetings – all on hard courts – including a victory last year in Toronto. In fact, the Argentine is 5-2 overall against Ferrer on the surface and beat the Spaniard in their only Australian Open match back in 2005.
Robin Soderling (4) def. Thomaz Bellucci (30)
Soderling knocked Bellucci out of Wimbledon last year in this exact round.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (13) def. Ernests Gulbis (24)
Tsonga is 3-0 against Gulbis, with all the meetings coming on hard courts within the past three years.
Marcos Baghdatis (21) def. Jurgen Melzer (11)
Melzer has never reached the fourth round here, while Baghdatis has gotten that far three times.
Andy Murray (5) def. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (32)
Last year’s finalist defeated Garcia-Lopez in straight sets on the grass of London in 2009.
Richard Gasquet (28) def. Philipp Kohlschreiber
Gasquet is 2-0 against Kohlschreiber.
Nikolay Davydenko (23) def. Fernando Verdasco (9)
Davydenko is 7-1 versus Verdasco and 4-0 on hard courts, including a five-set win in the fourth round of last year’s Aussie Open.
Ivan Ljubicic (17) def. Igor Andreev
Ljubicic has won four in a row against Andreev, with three of those victories coming on hard courts.
Novak Djokovic (3) def. Viktor Troicki (29)
Djokovic has won the last six meetings with his fellow Serb, four of which took place on hard courts last year.
Andy Roddick (8) def. Julien Benneteau
Roddick is 3-1 against Benneteau, with all the meetings coming on hard courts. The American dropped just five games in a dominant performance in this same round back in 2006.
Gael Monfils (12) def. Stanislas Wawrinka (19)
Monfils has beaten Wawrinka in their past two contests, both on hard courts, and the most recent of which was a 6-2, 6-4 blasting in Valencia last year.
Tommy Robredo def. Lukasz Kubot
While Kubot reached the fourth round in his debut last year, Robredo has accomplished that feat here three times since 2006.
Roger Federer (2) def. Xavier Malisse
Federer has won the last seven meetings.
Rafael Nadal (1) def. Radek Stepanek
Nadal is 4-0 versus Stepanek.
David Nalbandian (27) def. Mikhail Youzhny (10)
Youzhny won the first two meetings in 2004, but Nalbandian won the last two in ’10, including a straight-set hard-court win in Russia.
Robin Soderling (4) def. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (13)
Soderling hasn’t dropped a set in three career encounters with Tsonga.
Andy Murray (5) def. Marcos Baghdatis (21)
Baghdatis is 2-1 against Murray, but both of those wins came back in 2006 and ’07. Murray won the last meeting at the ’10 French Open, playing on his weakest surface.
Richard Gasquet (28) def. Nikolay Davydenko (23)
Gasquet is 2-1 versus Davydenko and the Frenchman won their only hard-court meeting, a straight-set trouncing at last year’s U.S. Open.
Novak Djokovic (3) def. Ivan Ljubicic (17)
Djokovic is 7-2 against Ljubicic, winning three of four meetings on hard courts last year. Their only Grand Slam match came at the 2009 U.S. Open, where Djokovic only lost seven games.
Gael Monfils (12) def. Andy Roddick (8)
After reaching his first U.S. Open quarterfinals last year, Monfils should be able to crack the final eight for the first time Down Under as well. He is 5-3 against Roddick, having won the last two meetings, the most recent of which took place on the hard courts of Tokyo last year.
Roger Federer (2) def. Tommy Robredo
Federer is 9-0 against Robredo and hasn’t even dropped a set in their last four hard-court meetings.
Rafael Nadal (1) def. David Nalbandian (27)
Nalbandian won their first two meetings in 2007, but Nadal prevailed in the past two, including a victory on the hard courts of Miami last year.
Andy Murray (5) def. Robin Soderling (4)
These two split a pair of hard court matches last year, so the edge goes to Murray, who reached the finals here last year, while Soderling has never gotten past the second round.
Novak Djokovic (3) def. Richard Gasquet (28)
Djokovic is 3-1 against Gasquet, having dropped just two games in a win on the hard courts of Shanghai last year.
Roger Federer (2) def. Gael Monfils (12)
Federer won the first five meetings, but Monfils won the last on the hard courts of Paris in 2010. Still, that match went to three tiebreakers and Federer is 2-0 against the Frenchman at Grand Slams, with both encounters taking place at the legend’s weakest major – the French Open.
Andy Murray (5) def. Rafael Nadal (1)
This is about as even as it gets. The pair split four matches last year and Nadal holds a slight 3-2 edge against Murray in majors, but they’re 1-1 in two meetings at the Australian Open. One of those was last year, when the Brit was on his way to a straight-set victory before Nadal retired at 3-0 in the third. The Spaniard didn’t look so good in a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Davydenko in the semis of Doha earlier this month, so the advantage goes to Murray and the dreams of a "Rafa Slam" come to an end.
Roger Federer (2) def. Novak Djokovic (3)
Federer lost a grueling five-set match to Djokovic in the U.S. Open semis last September, but since then, he has defeated the Serb three times and won four of the last five tournaments (22 of 23 matches) he’s entered, including the title at Doha earlier this month in which he didn’t drop a set.
Roger Federer (2) def. Andy Murray (5)
This is a rematch of last year’s final that Federer won in straight sets. Murray leads the all-time series, 8-6, but Federer is 2-0 in Grand Slam meetings and he won their last encounter, 6-4, 6-2, at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. Federer isn’t done yet; if he can get past Simon in the second round, he should have a good shot at capturing his fifth Australian Open and his 17th major title overall.
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Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report's New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and authorhouse.com.
Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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