Tennis

Andy Murray (pictured) is first up against Roberto Bautista Agut.

Eight intriguing match-ups at the Australian Open

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

Here, we pick out eight of the best.

Andy Murray vs Roberto Bautista Agut

As an unseeded player, Murray was left to the luck of the draw and his luck was out.

Spaniard Bautista Agut, seeded 22nd, won the title in Doha last week, beating Novak Djokovic along the way, and his relentless baseline game will give Murray’s dodgy right hip a thorough workout.

Kyle Edmund vs Tomas Berdych

As the 13th seed, Edmund would have hoped for a kind draw, but he was also unfortunate.

Last year’s semi-finalist will face former slam finalist Berdych, whose ranking has dropped to 57 after back problems saw him miss the second half of last season.

Nick Kyrgios vs Milos Raonic

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.

Bernard Tomic vs Marin Cilic

The other Australian ‘bad boy’ also has a high-profile first-round match against last year’s runner-up Cilic.

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Tomic failed to qualify 12 months ago, but has climbed back into the top 100.

Simona Halep vs Kaia Kanepi

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 loss to big-hitting Estonian Kanepi at the US Open.

Caroline Wozniacki v Alison van Uytvanck

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.

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Madison Keys vs Destanee Aiava

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

Sloane Stephens v Taylor Townsend

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.

Topics:
Australian Open
Kyle Edmund
Nick Kyrgios
Caroline Wozniacki
Tomas Berdych
Andy Murray
Tennis

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