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Eight of the best match-ups to look out for at the 2019 Australian Open

Eight of the best match-ups to look out for at the 2019 Australian Open

Eight first-round matches to catch the eye.

The Australian Open gets under way at Melbourne Park on Monday with a host of intriguing match-ups.

Here, Press Association Sport picks out eight of the best.

Roberto Bautista Agut v Andy Murray

A tearful Murray announced his impending retirement on Friday (Mark Baker/AP)

All eyes will be on Melbourne Arena for what could be Murray’s last professional match. While his mind and most of his body are still more than willing, his right hip leaves him severely compromised. Spaniard Bautista Agut, in form and one of the biggest grinders on tour, offers a formidable challenge.

Kyle Edmund v Tomas Berdych

As the 13th seed, Edmund would have hoped for a kind draw, but his luck was out. Last year’s semi-finalist will face former top-10 stalwart Berdych, whose ranking has dropped to 57 after back problems saw him miss the second half of last season.

Nick Kyrgios v Milos Raonic

Nick Kyrgios hits a ball between his legs during a practice session in Melbourne
Nick Kyrgios hits a ball between his legs during a practice session in Melbourne (Kin Cheung/AP)

Kyrgios’ poor results have caused the Australian’s ranking to plummet outside the top 50, making him one of the key unseeded floaters in the draw. His name landed next to 16th seed Raonic, a former semi-finalist in Melbourne.

Marin Cilic v Bernard Tomic

Bernard Tomic has climbed back up the rankings
Bernard Tomic has climbed back up the rankings (Steve Paston/PA)

The other Australian ‘bad boy’ also has a high-profile first-round match against last year’s runner-up Cilic. Tomic failed to qualify 12 months ago but has climbed back into the top 100.

Simona Halep v Kaia Kanepi

Simona Halep faces a daunting test in round one
Simona Halep faces a daunting test in round one (Kin Cheung/AP)

Halep goes into the tournament as world number one and last year’s beaten finalist but the Romanian is also on a five-match losing streak, including a first-round defeat by big-hitting Estonian Kanepi at the US Open.

Alison Van Uytvanck v Caroline Wozniacki

Wozniacki defeated Halep to win a long-awaited first slam title here 12 months ago but the rest of 2018 was a struggle and in October she revealed a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Belgian Van Uytvanck is not at her best on hard courts but has proved capable of big wins.

Destanee Aiava v Madison Keys

Destanee Aiava is a big Australian hope
Destanee Aiava is a big Australian hope (Tertius Pickard/AP)

American Keys has reached at least the quarter-finals at four of the last five slams but could face a stern first test against exciting 18-year-old Australian wild card Aiava.

Sloane Stephens v Taylor Townsend

Sloane Stephens has struggled for consistency
Sloane Stephens has struggled for consistency (Rick Rycroft/AP)

Stephens’ last six grand slams have yielded one title, one final, one quarter-final and three first-round exits, which rather sums up the fifth seed’s unpredictability. In the first round here, she takes on one of the most stylish players in the draw in fellow American Taylor Townsend.



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