The first grand slam of the year is only a handful of days away and preparations are under way. The draw for the opening round of the Australian Open has been made and fans have not been disappointed. Here are three first round ties that may result in shock or two.
Kyle Edmund vs Kevin Anderson
A match of giant proportion. Both players sore over 6″ 2″ and have a wicked serve to suit it.
Edmund has started the year in a positive action, despite an injury scare. The Brit number 2 made it to the quarter-finals in Brisbane, before losing in three sets to Grigor Dimitrov. The match seemed in doubt after Edmund went down with an ankle injury in the second set. Whether the injury will effect him against Anderson remains to be seen.
Kevin Anderson has also started the season in fine fashion. The world number 11 reached the final of the Tatu Open, losing the Giles Simon in straight sets. The 6″ 8″ giant will be aiming for a long run in the grand slam as he aims to reach his highest ranming since October 2015 of 10th in the world.
The pair have only met once before, the South African taking the plaudits in five sets at Roland Garros last year. Anderson will have hoped for an easier draw, but should manage to make it through to the second round.
Tomas Berdych vs Alex De Minaur
Now this may not seem a close tie, as the world number 20 and 167 face off. However, home advantage will play its part.
Alex De Minaur reached his first ATP tour semi final this week in Brisbane, eventually losing to Ryan Harrison. The manner of his route has impressed the tennis world. The 18 year-old dispatched both top 50 players Steve Johnson and Milos Raonic in straight sets. The youngster has backed up his performance in Sydney, where he has reached the semi-finals and faces Benoit Paire for a chance at the title.
Berdych started the season with a poor performance in the Qatar Open. A first round exit to Jan-Lennard Struff could be an omen of things to come.
The players have never faced off before and with home advantage De Minaur will feel a he can produce surprise result.
Juan Martin Del Potro vs Frances Tiafoe
This is another tie that pits experience against a newcomer of the tour.
Tiafoe is a next gen contender and for reason. The 19 year-old reached the last 64 at the Australian Open and Wimbledon last year and the last 16 at the Cincinnati masters to warrant a mention of a possible surprise result in this match.
The American started the year with a first round loss in Brisbane. However, with lack of experience comes inconsistency. The world number 79 will have nothing to lose and will bring his best to the court.
Del Potro has gone from strength to strength since the summer. Ranked in the top 10 going into the match for first time since August 2014 will give the Argentine confidence of a run into the second week of the tournament.
The 29 year-old has only played one tournament this season and is currently at the semi-final stage of the Auckland Classic. The former US Open champion has already beaten Denis Shapovalov and Karen Khachanov showing his intent for the season ahead.
The pair have played each other just once. The experienced Del Potro winning in three sets at the Acapulo Open on the Outdoor Hard surface. The youngster can pull of a shock on his day as can Del Potro be victim to a shock, however the latter should make it further into the Australian Open draw.