Australian Open day 1 preview for the Aussies

The first Grand Slam of the year starts today in Melbourne. There are six Australians in action on the opening day.

Wild card Olivia Gadecki, the world no. 199 is first up on court no. 8 against qualifier Polina Kudermetova, the world no. . Gadecki is mentored by current Australian Open champion, Ash Barty, while Kudermetova is the sister of world no. 9 Veronika Kudermetova.

Canberra: 31 December 2022 – Australian wildcard recipient Olivia Gadecki during practice for the ITF W60 tennis tournament at the Canberra Tennis Centre. Photo by Rob Keating,

Last week in qualifying Kudermetova, the world no. 182, convincingly defeated Canberra International champion Katie Boulter, so she is in good form going into this match. Gadecki hasn’t had a lot of match play in recent months but was helped by Tennis Australia to get a few matches including at the United Cup and in Hobart as a wildcard.

Storm Hunter (nee Sanders) is facing Wang Xinyu from China. Hunter is aiming to win her first Grand Slam main draw singles match. The world no. 239 has played in four previous Australian Open singles tournaments dating back to her first in 2014, and has competed at the 2021 French and US Opens.

Wang sits at no. 79 in the rankings and is looking to better her second round appearance at last year’s Australian Open.

Another wild card Talia Gibson is playing French qualifier Clara Burel. 18-year-old Gibson is making her main draw debut at a Grand Slam. Gibson the world No.344, was named Female Junior Athlete of the Year at the 2022 Australian Tennis Awards. She was awarded a wild card on the back of winning three W15 ITF titles in 2022.

Canberra: 31 December 2022 – A player during practice for the ITF W60 tennis tournament at the Canberra Tennis Centre. Photo by Rob Keating,

It is wildcard day as all of the Australian’s taking part on day one are in thanks to a wildcard. Jason Kubler is most deserving as with his Wimbledon points he would have automatically qualified and he is actually now the world no. 86 thanks to the points earned at the United Cup.

Kubler faces Argentina’s Sebastian Baez, the world no. 44. Like Kubler, Baez is a former world no. 1 junior. Kubler has had some good recent wins including defeating Dan Evans and Albert Ramos-Vinolas at the United Cup.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 27, 2022:. ACT Clay Court International #1 Jason Kubler in the final. (Photo by Rob Keating/Robicia Tennis Photography)

John Millman ranked at no. 140 is using his wildcard to play world no. 51 Marc-Andrea Huesler. It is the ninth time Millman has made an appearance in the main draw at the Australian Open. He faded in 2022 but had some good form shown in the Adelaide tournament last week.

Wildcard Rinky Hijikata face qualifier Yannick Hanfmann from Germany. Hijikata is ranked at no. 169 after a solid season in 2022. His highlight was pushing world no. 2 Rafael Nadal to four sets at the US Open in 2022. Hanfmann at 31-years-old is a veteran on tour but has limited Grand Slam experience. The German is playing in just his eigth Grand Slam singles tournament and he has just one win which came at the expense of Thanasi Kokkinakis last year at the Open.

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