Australian Open Draw: Best First Round Matches to Watch

Andy Murray in action at the Biella Challenger
Spread the love

Tournament organizers revealed the singles draws for the 2022 Australian Open on Friday afternoon. Excitement is high heading into the first slam of the year, and there are many interesting first-rounders to look forward to. We highlight the best ones.

1st Round Matchups to Look Out For at the Australian Open

Men’s Singles

 [12] Cameron Norrie vs. Sebastian Korda

Two talented players who had their breakouts in 2021 square off in the first round of the Happy Slam. Norrie is coming off a spectacular half-season – he reached the final of San Diego and won the trophy in Indian Wells. Back on his favorite surface (outdoor hard), the Brit will be a force to be reckoned with in Melbourne. Korda also had an excellent second half of 2021, starting with a last 16 run at Wimbledon. The American finished the year off in fine form, defeating Aslan Karatsev and Marin Cilic in Paris before reaching the final of the ATP Next Gen Finals. This match will be a spectacle.

[23] Reilly Opelka vs. Kevin Anderson

Count on plenty of tiebreaks in this one, as two of the biggest servers in the game square off for a spot in the second round. Opelka is just starting to regain form after a poor finish to 2021. He reached the semifinals in Sydney this week and looks formidable as ever ahead of the Aussie Open. Anderson made his return to the top 100 last year, but hasn’t pulled off any wins of notice. Now, facing a fellow big server, he’ll have a major opportunity. There is very little to separate the pair, and this battle is sure to be fascinating.

Lorenzo Musetti vs. [32] Alex de Minaur

A mouthwatering clash awaits us. A top young talent takes on the home favorite. Tournament officials will be sure to put this match on a stadium court, making it all the more exciting. Musetti showed us what he’s capable of at the majors when he reached the round of 16 at Roland-Garros 2021 and took two sets from Novak Djokovic. He doesn’t run out of steam in best-of-five-set matches, and he’ll be sure to give de Minaur a test. The Aussie will be ready for anything, though, as he’s just coming off a spectacular ATP Cup, where he beat Ugo Humbert and Matteo Berrettini. Get the popcorn ready.

Embed from Getty Images

[21] Nikoloz Basilashvili vs. [WC] Andy Murray

Everybody loves a rematch. These two just played each other a few days ago, Murray winning 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 6-3 after 3 hours and 17 minutes. The former World No. 1 has gone on to reach the final in Sydney, so he’ll be firing on all cylinders when this clash rolls around. Basilashvili’s early exit might be a blessing in disguise, however. The Georgian is already in Melbourne, resting and training, while Murray will only make it 24 hours before the tournament is due to start. Additionally, Basilashvili will be strategizing to avoid a repeat of their last matchup. Throw in the best-of-five-sets rule, and this match has all the makings of an Aussie Open classic.

[24] Dan Evans vs. David Goffin

A former World No. 7 and one of the hottest players on tour right now square off in an early-rounds blockbuster. Goffin won the title in Lyon back in February of last year, but it’s all gone downhill for him since. A series of first-round exits have sent the Belgian plummeting down the rankings and he’ll look to regain form at a tournament he once reached the quarterfinals at. Standing in his way, however, will be Dan Evans, who is playing brilliant early on in 2022. He opened the season with three straight victories for Team Great Britain at the ATP Cup, before making a semifinal run in Sydney and just coming up short against Aslan Karatsev. An intriguing clash of styles will unfold when these two meet, and tennis fans are here for it.

Embed from Getty Images

Women’s Singles

[11] Sofia Kenin vs. Madison Keys

Two Americans who love the Aussie summer swing will face each other early this year in Melbourne. Keys comes in to the match in the form of her life, having defeated Elina Svitolina, Lyudmila Samsonova, and Coco Gauff in Sydney this week en route to the final (plays Alison Riske later today). Kenin, meanwhile, will look to recreate the magic of two years ago, when she won her first, and to-date only major title here at the Australian Open. These are two players who know each other well, making the match a battle of wits. Expect long rallies and creative shots during this one.

Sloane Stephens vs. [17] Emma Raducanu

Two US Open champions playing each other is always going to be interesting. A semifinalist in Melbourne way back in 2013, Stephens will look to capitalize on Raducanu’s clear case of sophomore syndrome when the pair meet in the first round of the Australian Open. The British talent has had a difficult time ever since her US Open title run, emphasized by her 6-0 6-1 loss to Elena Rybakina on Tuesday. Still, it’s well-known that Raducanu plays her best tennis at the majors. Across two Grand Slam appearances, she’s won a title at one and made the round of 16 at the other. She’ll try to bring back the magic against Stephens, who comes in well-rested after not playing a WTA match for three months.

[16] Angelique Kerber vs. Kaia Kanepi

It’s amazing to think how long these two players have been around, competing at the highest level. They played each other for the first-time at tour level thirteen years ago, in Sydney. Kanepi won that one before Kerber took two of the next three to level the head-to-head. Now, they face off for the fifth time, and first since 2014. Kerber is a former champion in Melbourne and the heavy favorite in this clash. Kanepi had a poor 2021, but recorded her best results during the Australian swing, defeating Aryna Sabalenka and Sofia Kenin. The Estonian will need to recreate that form if she is to upset her German opponent. This match is definitely worth your attention.

Main Photo from Getty.