Thirteen Australian men will take their place in the 2021 Australian Open singles tournament. Five are direct entries, one qualifier and seven were awarded wildcards.
(21) Alex de Minaur 23 v Tennys Sandgren (USA) 50
de Minaur missed last year’s Australian Open due to injury. This year the top ranked comes into the Open after having won the Antalya title a few weeks ago.
He then sat through quarantine before taking part in the ATP Cup where he lost to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut and Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas.
In round one at the Australian Open he faces world no. 50 Tennys Sandgren, a two time Australian Open quarterfinalist. Sandgren controversially was allowed to travel to Australia despite have a positive test result prior to boarding.
He had COVID-19 late last year and after a review of his situation the Victorian Health Authorities cleared him to travel.
With the recent match play for de Minaur, including a title, I am tipping the Australian in what is their first meeting.
John Millman 38 v Corentin Moutet (FRA) 80
In another first time meeting Millman faces Moutet on Court 3 today. Both players were in action last week. Millman losing to world no. 16 Pablo Carreno Busta before defeating world no. 462 Michail Pervolarakis.
Moutet reached the semifinals of the Murray River Open last week. He had impressive wins over Frances Tiafoe, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, James Duckworth and Grigor Dimitrov before losing to Felix Auger-Aliassime.
This match is really one that comes down to a toss of a coin. Millman with the crowd behind him is capable of the win, but Moutet has form on the board.
Nick Kyrgios 47 v (Q) Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR) 184
The 2021 Australian Open promised to be a breakout one for Kyrgios. He had a good training block behind him before heading down to Melbourne.
Unfortunately Kyrgios has been hampered by a knee injury and that looks to derail his 2021 campaign. In normal circumstances Kyrgios should take this match. It will depend on his fitness.
Jordan Thompson 52 v (24) Casper Ruud (NOR) 27
Australia’s Thompson had a good week at the Great Ocean Road Open reaching the quarterfinals. Ruud has risen up the rankings over recent times. I am tipping Thompson.
James Duckworth 105 v (LL) Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 120
Duckworth for the win.
(WC) Alexei Popyrin 114 v (13) David Goffin (BEL) 14
Popyrin for the upset in this match
(WC) Christopher O’Connell 120 v Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 37
Struff played well at the ATPCup. He is my tip.
(WC) Marc Polmans 125 v Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 55
Fucsovics should be too strong for Polmans.
(WC) Alex Bolt 174 v Norbert Gombos (SVK) 89
Bolt was in good form last week at the Murray River Open going down to Stan Wawrinka in the third round.
(WC) Aleksandar Vukic 195 v (19) Karen Khachanov (RUS) 20
Khachanov for the win.
(Q) Bernard Tomic 228 v Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 104
After a good performance at the qualifying Tomic was out injured in the lead up tournament. This is a potential match win for Tomic, but just how well he will play in round one is unknown.
(WC) Thanasi Kokkinakis 266 v Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 97
Kookinakis was impressive in his opening set against fellow Australian Alex Bolt before fading. Over five sets Kwon would be favoured but don’t count out the Australian
(WC) Li Tu – v Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 63
A fairytale appearance for Li after giving up hope of making it as a pro. He won three UTR titles during the recent months in Adelaide, this saw him rewarded with a wildcard. Lopez should be too strong but maybe the fairytale will continue.